Sporting Gijon coach Ruben Baraja faces ban after taking down Barcelona B player
Sporting Gijon coach Ruben Baraja has apologised for preventing a Barcelona B player from taking a throw-in during his team's 3-2 Segunda Division defeat on Saturday -- an action that could see lead to a lengthy ban.
The ball went out of bounds near the centre line with the score level at 2-2 in the 79th minute, and Baraja, standing in the technical area, handed the ball to Barcelona B right-back Sergio Palencia.
But as Palencia attempted to throw the ball in to launch a fast counter-attack, Baraja held him back and even took him down to the pitch, leading to a straight red before Sporting lost after conceding in added time.
Baraja, who admitted his mistake after the game, faces a ban of four to 10 games and a fine of up to €3,006, according to the disciplinary code of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
"The ball came to me and I tried for the rival player not to take the throw-in," Baraja said at a news conference. "I apologize. With the anxiety of the result, it was a reflex action and a bad decision. When you make a mistake, you have to admit it."
Referee Eduardo Prieto wrote on his game report that Baraja was sent off for "holding a rival, bringing him down, with the ball out of play and when the rival player was in the process of taking a throw-in."
Sporting had won all of their home games since Baraja took over the team in December, but the defeat was their second in as many weeks after losing 2-1 at Real Zaragoza.
"To lose at home, in front of our fans, it's even more painful," Baraja said. "We will see what consequences this defeat has for us."
With three games remaining, Sporting are third in the table, four points adrift of second-place Huesca and five behind leaders Rayo Vallecano. The top two teams gain automatic promotion to La Liga while the final promotion spot is decided with a playoff.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.