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NYRB's Petke: SKC's Nielsen fooled MLS for Juninho ban

New York Red Bull head coach Mike Petke believes Juninho should not have received a two-match ban from MLS.

The Brazilian midfielder sat out the 4-1 win over New England Revolution on the weekend and will also miss this weekend's trip to Toronto FC after being found guilty of misconduct in that he kicked the ball at Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen in the Red Bulls' 1-0 midweek loss last week.

Former Lyon ace Juninho was provoked by Nielsen's time-wasting antics late in the match, culminating in him toe-poking the ball at the Danish gloveman, who made the most of the limited contact.

Petke says fair enough to the one-match ban for unsporting behaviour but believes that offseason signing Juninho was hung out to dry by Nielsen in receiving a second match suspension.

"At the end of the day I understand what happened. Mr. Nielsen doesn't keep it a secret he can milk the clock with the best, and I take my hat off to him to be honest. He's a seasoned player," said Petke.

"Juninho's 15 yards away and he toe-pokes the ball to a pro goalkeeper. It hits him in the face and he goes down like a rock. Do I think he should've got two? No, I thought he should've got one. But for him to go down like that, he fooled everybody. So I guess that's where the two games comes from."

Ex-Brazil international Juninho, who has made seven appearances since his move from Vasco da Gama, will again be available for the May 5 meeting with Columbus Crew.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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