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Higuaín hit with four-game ban for Udinese outburst

The Napoli striker had to be physically restrained after his sending off at the weekend and will miss the matches Verona, Inter Milan, Bologna and Roma.

Gonzalo Higuaín argues with referee Massimiliano Irrati.

Napoli's Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuaín has been hit with a four-match ban following his sending off in Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Udinese, a blow for his team who are battling with Juventus for the Serie A title.

Higuaín was shown his second yellow card for kicking out at defender Felipe, prompting the striker to launch a verbal tirade against the referee. The 28-year-old had to be pulled away by team-mates as he tried to angrily remonstrate with Udinese players.

Higuaín, the top Serie A scorer with 30 goals, will miss upcoming games against Verona, Inter Milan, Bologna and Roma, severely damaging his side's chances of a first Serie A title in 26 years.

Defeat left Napoli six points adrift of leaders Juventus, as they bid to snatch a first league title since Diego Maradona played his penultimate season at the club in 1990, with seven games to play.

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The disciplinary commission sanctioned "an insulting term" used against the referee as well as "a disrespectful gesture when he faced him and laid his two hands on his chest".

It also evoked "aggressive behaviour towards an opponent" and pointed out that Higuaín had "to be restrained by his teammates".

Napoli, who are second with Roma four points behind, are already weakened for their next game at Verona following suspensions of defender Kalidou Koulibaly and striker Dries Mertens.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri will also be suspended for a match after he was sent to the stands for dissent during the game.


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