Iniesta available for semi-final

Andres Iniesta is free to play in Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid after a proposed ban was overturned.UEFA officials had alleged the Spanish midfielder had deliberately collected a yellow card in Barca’s quarter-final first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk, which ruled him out of the return leg and also wiped clean his record for the crucial final stages.

The European body’s disciplinary committee had indicated they were prepared to suspend the 26-year-old for the first leg of Barca’s crucial last-four tie with Real as a result.

But Barca appealed to UEFA directly and were able to reverse the plan to ban Iniesta for their first leg match against their domestic rivals.

“Andres Iniesta will be able to play in the away match of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu,” a Barcelona statement said.

“UEFA has dismissed a possible sanction against the midfielder after FC Barcelona appealed the European organisation’s proposal to sanction him for an extra game for the yellow card received during the match against Shakhtar on April 6.”

“With the decision, UEFA also ruled out any kind of financial penalty.”

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho came under fire in the group stages for allegedly instructing Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to pick up deliberate cautions for time-wasting, wiping clean their record for the knockout stages.

The Portuguese manager complained last week that Barca were afforded favouritism by the governing body, saying: “You have to find why Mourinho cannot clean yellow cards but other coaches can.”