Ill discipline could yet cost Sevilla FC, FC Schalke 04 and FC Steaua Bucuresti dear should they reach the UEFA Cup final.
For Thursday's semi-final second legs, Sevilla and Steaua each have two players suspended, and Schalke one, but all three clubs risk losing other key personnel for a potential final if they fall foul of officialdom this week.
With Kepa Blanco already out of any final as he serves a three-match ban for his sending-off in the quarter-final second leg, a yellow card for Javi Navarro in the 0-0 draw at Schalke has left Sevilla a second man down for the return. In addition, six more players are one booking away from being sidelined. Daniel, Luis Fabiano, Adriano Correia, Frédéric Kanouté, Jesús Navas and goalkeeper Andrés Palop could all skip the Eindhoven showpiece if cautioned on Thursday.
Schalke too must tread carefully. Defender Mladen Krštajić sits out the game in Spain following his red card in Germany, while Hamit Altıntop, Gerald Asamoah, Fabian Ernst, Christian Poulsen and Darío Rodríguez are all within one misdemeanour of a ban.
Steaua's situation is also serious following their 1-0 first-leg win against Middlesbrough FC in Bucharest. Yellow cards for Banel Nicolita and Sorin Paraschiv ensure that both will be ineligible for the trip to England. Five other players will be unavailable for the final if yellow-carded, and provided Steaua maintain their lead: Andrei Cristea, Nicolae Dica, Dorin Goian, George Ogararu and Mirel Radoi all walking the disciplinary tightrope.
Maccarone at risk
Middlesbrough, however, have almost a clean bill of health. Massimo Maccarone is the one player who must avoiding entering the referee's notebook, since Emanuel Pogatetz - in a similar position - is ruled out through injury. Suspensions, therefore, are the least of manager Steve McClaren's worries.
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