Socceroos call-up Ikonomidis 'slapped' with three-game ban

New Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis has been handed a three-game ban at Lazio after “slapping” an opponent’s face on the weekend.

Ikonomidis, 19, was sent off after 12 minutes in Lazio’s 1-0 win over Latina in the Campionato Primavera Girone C on Saturday.

According to Italian reports, an official tribunal met and judge Luca Lo Giudice explained the ban, claiming that Ikonomidis had slapped the opponent.

“With the ball at a non-playing distance, (Ikonomidis) has hit a player of the opposing team with a slap to the face,” Lo Giudice said.

The incident appeared minor, with Ikonomidis’ team-mates rushed to the referee to complain after he issued the red card.

The suspension will not affect Ikonomidis’ availability to play in next week’s international friendlies against Germany and FYR Macedonia, as the ban only relates to club commitments.

The Australian, who earned his debut senior Socceroos call-up just last week, charged towards the opposition right-back as he received the ball.

The pair appeared to collide, before a mutual tugging of shirts prompted Ikonomidis to push at his opponent’s cheek with his hand, resulting in the sending off.

The incident can be viewed here at the 29 second-mark: 

It is a setback for Ikonomidis’ bid to break into the Lazio first team, having been an unused substitute on their senior bench three times this campaign, including this month’s Coppa Italia clash with Napoli.