2017-03-29 / State/National Sports

Messi banned 4 games

GENEVA (AP) — Lionel Messi is banned from Argentina’s next four World Cup qualifying games, dealing a blow to a campaign by the 2014 runner-up that has stuttered without him.

Messi’s suspension for “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” during a home qualifier last week against Chile started on Tuesday, shortly before his teammates played Bolivia in La Paz.

Without Messi, Argentina went on to lose the qualifier 2-0.

The five-time FIFA player of the year can appeal to FIFA, but is on track to return for Argentina’s final match in the 10-team South American qualifying group, hosting Ecuador on Oct. 10.

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