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Lacazette free to face Rennes after European suspension reduced on appeal

Alexandre Lacazette has been cleared to play for Arsenal in the second leg of the Europa League last-16 tie against Rennes on Thursday after UEFA reduced his three-match suspension following an appeal.

The French forward had been punished after being shown a straight red card in the February 14 last-32 first leg loss away against BATE Borisov.

After having a second-half equaliser correctly ruled out for offside, Lacazette was sent off for swinging an elbow in frustration towards Aleksandar Filipovic with five minutes remaining.

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Governing body UEFA confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Arsenal’s appeal “has partially been upheld”, with a reduced two-match European sanction now deemed to have been served.

A statement read: “Consequently, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body’s decision of 21 February 2019 is amended as follows: to suspend the Arsenal FC player Alexandre Lacazette for two (2) UEFA competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible for serious rough play.”

Lacazette had already been forced to sit out the second leg of the tie against BATE Borisov at the Emirates Stadium as well as the opening match of the last 16 fixture against Rennes.

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Arsenal lost 3-1 away in the first leg and face a battle to overturn the deficit in their bid to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Gunners will be without defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos through suspension following his dismissal for two cautions at Roazhon Park.