Barcelona star Luis Suarez could face a retrospective ban following a bad-tempered 4-1 victory over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on 6 January. The referee reported that the former Liverpool striker was responsible for sparking a spat between both teams in the aftermath of the derby, waiting for his rivals in the tunnel to the dressing room while allegedly provoking them.
The first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 tie came off the back of a goalless draw in their La Liga encounter on 2 January, when Barcelona complained of Espanyol's alleged violent approach to the game. The Champions League holders beat their rivals in the cup tie with a brace from Lionel Messi but the game was overshadowed by confrontations between the players.
Espanyol 'keeper Pau Lopez avoided being sent off as referee Martinez Munuera missed the moment when he appeared to deliberately stand on Messi. But his side finished the game with nine men as Hernan Perez – two yellow cards – and Papakouli Diop were later dismissed.
The latter, according to the referee's report, saw a straight red for insulting Suarez. "In the 75th minute the No.12 [Diop], Papakouli, was expelled for directing the following words at an opponent - 'I s**t in your whore mother'," the referee reported.
Suarez also had a number of confrontations during the game, including his celebration of Messi's second goal with a gesture directed towards the Espanyol goalkeeper. The referee did not punish the Uruguayan for his gesture but in his report after the game, he pointed out the incident that could cost Suarez a retrospective ban.
According to the report, the former Liverpool star waited for the Espanyol players in the tunnel to the dressing room while shouting at them.
"At the end of the game, once in the tunnel, Barça's No 9, Suarez, Luis, while the Espanyol players were coming up the stairs, waited for them and shouted at them on various occasions. He said: 'I'm waiting for you, come here! You're a waste of space," the referee's report claimed as quoted by Sport. "It provoked a confrontation between players of both clubs and the present security guards had to get involved, as did coaches of both teams."
Suarez managed to avoid controversy during his first season at the Nou Camp, having joined the club from Liverpool following his four-month ban from competitive football by Fifa after biting Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup.
However, he has been involved in bad-tempered incidents in recent weeks, with one seeing him accused of stamping on Aymen Abdennour in the 1-1 draw with Valencia on 5 December 2015.
Asked about the incidents in the tunnel after the game, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique said: "That was Christmas carols. The limits are set by the referees. Those are the ones who are in charge of making sure this is football and not American football. Tonight there was intensity and tension but it's the match officials who mark the limits."