A busy week for referees in the first legs of the fifth round of the cup, with six red cards between the eight ties. Two of those came of course in the bad-tempered tie between city rivals Barcelona and Espanyol, who carried on the battle which began at the weekend in the league. Pau López was lucky to get away with it when he was caught on camera stamping on Messi’s ankle before the break, but the visitors had Hernán Pérez and Diop sent off after the restart, the former for a second bookable offence, and the second for insulting Luis Suárez’s mother in front of the referee! Suárez himself was in an aggressive mood, and the referee reported him for threatening behaviour in the players tunnel after the match ended, standing outside the dressing room and challenging his opponents to a fight (why does the figure of Gary Cooper in High Noon come to mind?!?). The Uruguayan striker was given a two match ban to be served out in the cup, so he will miss next Wednesday’s return leg (as will Pérez and Diop).

Straight red cards as well for Eibar’s Hajrovic and Escalante late on in their tie against Las Palmas, the two for hard tackles on Vicente Gómez and Wakaso. The Basque side are looking doomed after losing the match 2-3, but then we said that in the last round when they were beaten 3-0 by Ponferradina, and they are still in the competition! Elsewhere Betis midfielder N’Diaye and Villarreal defender Mario Gaspar were both given their marching orders after picking up two yellow cards in their respective matches, and they will be joined on the sidelines in the second leg by Sevilla’s Coke, who clocked up his third booking of the competition in the game against Betis.

No red cards this weekend in the league, but eight players will be suspended for the next round of games after picking up their fifth yellow cards of the season. The offenders were Aduríz (Athletic), Arribas (Deportivo), Pantic (Eibar), Javi López (Espanyol), Rochina (Granada), David Simon (Las Palmas), Verza (Levante) and Javi Guerra (Rayo). (11.01.16)

(* suspension pending disciplinary meeting decision)

Villains Yellow cards Red cards (straight) Games banned Total points
Diop (Espanyol) 9 2 (1) 3* 15
Escalante (Eibar) 10 1 (1) 3* 15
Eric Bailly (Villarreal) 10 1 2 13
Simao (Levante) 6 1 (1) 5 13
Luisinho (Deportivo) 8 2 2 12
Pablo Hernández (Celta) 9 1 2 12
Piqué (Barcelona) 5 1 (1) 4 11
Tito (Rayo Vallecano) 6 2 (1) 2 11
Rubén Pérez (Granada) 7 1 (1) 2 11
Gabi (Atlético Madrid) 8 1 2 11
Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol) 8 1 2 11
Aythami (Las Palmas) 8 1 2 11
Deyverson (Levante) 8 1 2 11
Javi Fuego (Valencia) 8 1 2 11
Recio (Málaga) 10 0 1 11
Ebert (Rayo Vallecano) 4 1 (1) 4 10
Tissone (Málaga) 6 2 2 10
Laporte (Athletic) 6 1 (1) 2 10
Mascherano (Barcelona) 6 1 (1) 2 10
Iborra (Sevilla) 6 1 (1) 2 10
Raúl Baena (Rayo) 7 1 2 10
Bernardo (Sporting) 7 1 2 10
Illarramendi (Real Sociedad) 9 0 1 10