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By ESPN Staff

Eduardo banned for two games after Celtic dive

Arsenal striker Eduardo has been banned for two matches by UEFA for diving to win a penalty against Celtic in a Champions League qualifier last week.

UEFA announced that their control and disciplinary body had suspended the Croatian international "for deceiving the referee''.

Eduardo will miss Arsenal's Champions League group matches away at Standard Liege on September 16 and the home match with Olympiacos on September 29.

The Gunners have three days to lodge an appeal.

UEFA said in a statement: "The UEFA control and disciplinary body today examined the case of the Arsenal player Eduardo 'for deceiving the referee' during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg match on August 26 against Celtic, and has suspended the player for two UEFA club competition matches.''

Eduardo went down midway through the first half of the Champions League qualifier despite there appearing to be no contact with Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez awarded a penalty, converted by Eduardo who was subsequently condemned by Celtic.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last week branded UEFA's decision to charge Eduardo with diving a "complete disgrace'' and accused them of staging a "witch-hunt'' against the striker.

Wenger said: "I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable. We won't accept the way we have been treated in this case for two reasons. I believe that you can debate whether it was a penalty or not. For me it's a witch-hunt that we see and not an objective judgement of a case.

"This charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee. Having watched the pictures again there was nothing conclusive. It singles out a player in Europe to be a cheat and that is not acceptable. UEFA has taken action that is not defendable.''

Arsenal this evening released a statement on their website condemning the "arbitrary'' nature of UEFA's decision.

It read: "The club is disappointed with UEFA's decision to suspend Eduardo for two Champions League matches starting with Standard Liege on September 16. We have been informed that we will receive a ''reasoned decision" from UEFA by Thursday of this week.

"Once we receive UEFA's rationale, we will make a decision on the next steps. We have been deeply frustrated by the perfunctory and apparently arbitrary process that UEFA has followed in this instance.

"We believe it is imperative that UEFA's explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced. It is also critical that UEFA provides specific details of the processes it plans to adopt in reviewing all games under its jurisdiction.''

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