Melbourne Victory have suffered a double blow with two of their stars set to serve suspensions.
Defensive midfielder Mark Milligan has been banned for two matches after being found guilty of striking Melbourne Heart’s Jonatan Germano.
And captain Adrian Leijer will miss one match after collecting his fifth yellow card.
The incident involving Milligan occurred in the 14th minute of the fiery local derby at AAMI Park on Saturday night, with the Victory midfielder punching his Argentine opponent in the kidney.
Referee Alan Milliner missed the incident but it did not escape the attention of the independent Match Review Panel (MRP), which ruled the Socceroo had committed ‘assault on a player’, handing Milligan a two-game ban.
The 27-year-old will now miss his side’s home game with the Newcastle Jets on Friday and the trip to Western Sydney Wanderers on New Year’s Day in what is a key period for Victory’s season as they prepare to play three games in eight days.
Ange Postecoglou’s side will be further handicapped when they face the Jets with Leijer also suspended.
The defensive stalwart picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against the Heart and will now serve a mandatory one-game ban.