Mid-Day Ticker: Ivanovic hit with ban, Mancini concedes EPL title & more

Mid-Day Ticker: Ivanovic hit with ban, Mancini concedes EPL title & more

European Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Ivanovic hit with ban, Mancini concedes EPL title & more

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Ivanovic (Getty)

 

By THOMAS FLOYD

If Chelsea is going to defeat Tottenham in Sunday's FA Cup semifinal, the club will have to do it without Branislav Ivanovic.

The Serbian defender was handed a three-match ban by the FA on Thursday after video caught him striking Wigan's Shaun Maloney in the midriff during Chelsea's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. An appeal he filed with the FA was denied.

Ivanovic has been a key cog for Chelsea's defense this season, starting 20 Premier League games, eight Champions League fixtures and four FA Cup matches.

Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:

MANCINI CONCEDES TITLE RACE

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said the race for the Premier League crown is "finished," acknowledging Manchester United will again claim the crown.

United's loss to Wigan on Wednesday coupled with City's win over West Brom may have allowed Mancini's side to get within five points of the EPL lead with five games remaining, but the 47-year-old isn't holding out hope for a late surge.

"Five points is too much," Mancini said. "United have got fantastic spirit. We don't have this spirit."

FULHAM CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR INSTANT REPLAY

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has renewed calls for instant replay to be used by the FA and in the English Premier League, saying that "lots of clubs are suffering from such stupid decisions. Advanced technology is available and it is evidently being used in other sports."

Al Fayed made the statement after Fulham's 1-0 loss to Manchester United in late March was marred by a controversial decision not to award a penalty kick to the Cottagers in second-half stoppage time.

"We need brave pioneers in the Premier League, the FA and within the Premier League shareholder group," he said. "It is time for the Premier League to wake up. They have been in a coma for a long time."

PORTSMOUTH ADMINISTRATORS CONSIDER LIQUIDATION

The administrators in charge of Portsmouth have acknowledged that liquidation is a possibility for the financially troubled organization, as no firm offers to purchase the club have been received since it went into administration in February for the second time in as many years.

Administrator Trevor Birch, though, remains hopeful a buyer can be found.

"This remains a very challenging situation, but we have significant amount of experience and a successful track record as football club administrators," he said.

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Is Ivanovic's suspension warranted? Should Mancini give up on the title race already? Is Al Fayed right to call for instant replay?

Share your thoughts below.

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