UEFA ease Mourinho suspension

NYON - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was given an incentive to behave himself when UEFA slightly eased his five-match European ban, imposed for his sending-off against Barcelona, at an appeal on Friday.

UEFA said that the final two matches of the ban would be suspended, meaning that the Portuguese would only serve them if he re-offended in a probationary period of three years.

A 50,000-euro fine was maintained on Mourinho, who was ordered from the touchline during the stormy Champions League semi-final first leg which his side lost 2-0.

After the match, he implied that Barcelona received favourable treatment from UEFA and made disparaging remarks about his opposite number Pep Guardiola.

The Portuguese has already served one ban in the return leg of the semi-final, meaning he effectively has two matches left, which will be served in the group stage of the 2011/12 competition.

Mourinho, looking tanned but deeply unhappy, left UEFA headquarters without waiting for the verdict. After spending six hours at the hearing, he was ushered into a waiting car by Real Madrid officials and refused to speak to reporters.

He had said the previous day that he was not bothered by the hearing and wanted to get back to Madrid for an evening training session.

The ban means that Mourinho is not even allowed into the stadium for the matches involved.