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Blanc calls for leniency for French captain Diarra
AFP, October 19th, 2010 2:48PM

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Just when the French national team looks like it is turning things around after its nightmare World Cup, it faces more trouble. France national team coach Laurent Blanc has called for leniency for Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra, also the captain of the new-look French national team, after he reacting to a yellow card shown to him by referee Wilfried Bien during Bordeaux's 1-0 win over Auxerre by shoving the official in the chest.

Diarra, who was red carded, faces a disciplinary hearing on Thursday. In a similar incident last season, Nancy striker Youssouf Hadji was handed a six-month ban that was subsequently reduced.

"I hope the punishment takes into account that Alou Diarra is really a good kid," Blanc said. "It's very unfortunate for him. Knowing him, he must be massively angry with himself. He realized straight away that he'd made a huge mistake."

Diarra, a defensive midfielder, captained France in its last three Euro 2012 qualifiers -- all wins -- and was considered a key to its recent success.

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