Napoli striker Higuain banned for four matches

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has been banned for four matches after his furious reaction to being sent off in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Udinese.

Higuain, who had scored a first-half equalizer at the Friuli, was shown a second yellow card in the 75th minute by referee Massimiliano Irrati for a tangle with Felipe, with Napoli already staring down the barrel of a defeat that damages its title hopes.

The Argentina striker – who has also been fined 20,000 euros ($22,770)  – responded by putting his hands on Irati before turning his fury on Felipe, and had to be led from the field by several Napoli colleagues.

Higuain currently tops the European Golden Shoe race with 30 goals to his name in 31 games.

However, he will miss upcoming fixtures with Hellas Verona, Inter, Bologna and Roma as Napoli look to overturn a six-point deficit to leader Juventus, whose 1-0 win over Empoli on Saturday was the club’s 20th victory in 21 league games as it targets a fifth straight Scudetto.

Higuain will return for games against Atalanta, Torino and Frosinone.

Having broken the 30-goal barrier against Udinese, Higuain was on track to challenge Gino Rossetti’s record for goals in a Serie A season, his incredible 36 strikes coming way back in 1928-29.

Lorenzo Insigne is Napoli’s next highest scorer in Serie A this season with 11 goals, with forwards Manolo Gabbiadini and Jose Callejon managing just two and five goals respectively this season.

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