UEFA bans City’s Pellegrini for Barcelona match

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will start a two-match ban when his team plays Barcelona in the Champions League on March 12.

Pellegrini, who blamed the referee for the 2-0 loss in the first leg, will remain under probation by UEFA for two years and a one-game ban will be imposed if there is another misconduct case.

UEFA says its disciplinary ruling bars the Chilean coach from contacting his players while banned.

On Feb. 18, Pellegrini questioned the integrity of referee Jonas Eriksson, who he said was “not impartial.”

The match was scoreless early in the second half when Eriksson sent off City defender Martin Demichelis for fouling Lionel Messi, who scored the subsequent penalty.

Pellegrini, who later apologized, can appeal.

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