Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho has been dealt a severe blow, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended for three domestic games, after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct for his elbow on Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings.
As well as the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea, Mourinho's former club, at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (NZ time), Ibrahimovic will miss Premier League games away to Middlesbrough and at home to West Bromwich Albion on April 1, after the international break.
The Swedish striker had until this morning to respond to the FA and opted not to contest the charge, despite claiming in the wake of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford that Mings had "jumped" into his right elbow.
Zlatan Ibrahimović has accepted his FA charge and will serve a 3-match ban:
Chelsea (A) FA Cup— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) March 7, 2017
West Brom (H) pic.twitter.com/vIHkME7wVn
The incident was missed by referee Kevin Friend at the time, but it was determined that the incident merited a retrospective red card, when the footage was reviewed yesterday.
Mourinho has previously claimed it would be a "disaster" to lose Ibrahimovic for any prolonged period of time, but the 35-year-old's absence will open the door for Marcus Rashford to have a run-out at centre forward.
The England striker has mainly had to settle for a wide role this season, on those occasions when he has not been on the substitutes' bench.
Ibrahimovic was among the 20-man squad due to fly to Russia on Tuesday, ahead of their Europa League Round-of-16 tie against FC Rostov on Friday. He is expected to start upfront for that game and will also be available for the second leg at Old Trafford next week.
With 26 goals this season and 20 in his past 23 matches, his importance to United this term has been hard to overstate.
In a statement, the FA said: "Zlatan Ibrahimovic will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect, after he admitted an FA charge of violent conduct and accepted the standard penalty.
"It follows an incident in or around the 44th minute of the game between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
"The misconduct was not seen by the match officials at the time, but caught on video."
Ibrahimovic had claimed, after the game, that Mings had jumped into his elbow.
"You can see the TV and the images," he said. "In my situation, I jump up, I jump high, at the same time I protect myself and it's unlucky he jumps into my elbow.
"On many occasions, these things happen and I hope he didn't get injured. What happens on the field stays on the field, I'm not a player who will talk afterwards or attack somebody."