Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk handed three-game ban after unsuccessful red card appeal

By Joe Donnohue

Leeds United will be without central defender Pascal Struijk for their next three games after the Football Association's disciplinary panel rejected a Whites appeal.

Struijk was sent off in Leeds' 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Elland Road last Sunday for a tackle on Harvey Elliott.

The altercation left Elliott with a dislocated ankle, which required surgery on Tuesday, an injury the player himself claimed was an 'accident' and not Struijk's fault.

Referee Craig Pawson had initially allowed the game to run following the incident, until it became apparent Elliott required immediate medical attention.

The game was subsequently stopped as doctors from both dugouts and paramedics tended to the teenager.

In the melee that ensued, Pawson chose to send Struijk from the field, a decision The Athletic report was the referee's own, despite initially playing the advantage.

Consequently, Leeds will be without the 22-year-old centre-half for this weekend's fixture with Newcastle, next week's League Cup tie against Fulham or the club's next home game versus West Ham United.

Struijk will return to contention for the October 2nd fixture between Leeds United and Watford at Elland Road.

This leaves Leeds with something of an issue in central defence, given injuries to Diego Llorente and Robin Koch.

Llorente appeared dejected as he was replaced by Struijk against Liverpool, trudging off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Meanwhie Koch has been absent for four weeks with a pelvic injury, initially thought to be a minor complaint.

It is likely Luke Ayling will feature in central defence on Friday evening at St James' Park, with Jamie Shackleton or Stuart Dallas deputising at right-back.

Leeds supporters were enraged by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's reaction to Struijk's challenge on Sunday.

The Dutchman's coming together is thought to have been referred to VAR following Pawson's brandishing of the red card, a decision which the officials at Stockley Park took no issue with.

"For me the referee decides," Marcelo Bielsa said in the aftermath.

"He has plenty of resources to make the decision. I don't know why the decision wasn't immediate and it was after but I never like to condition the decisions that the referee makes."

Struijk's suspension is the first he will serve in professional football.


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