UEFA cuts Milan keeper Dida's ban to one game

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MILAN, Oct 22 (Reuters) AC Milan goalkeeper Dida's two-match Champions League ban for feigning injury against Celtic was reduced to one game today.

The Brazilian will miss Wednesday's home fixture with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the second match suspended for a one-year probationary period, UEFA said on its Web site (www.uefa.com).

Dida fell dramatically to the ground after chasing a Celtic fan, who had run on to the pitch to celebrate his team's late winner in a 2-1 victory on October 3 and appeared to make light contact as he slapped the Brazilian round the neck.

UEFA's disciplinary committee banned Dida for two games and fined Celtic 60,000 Swiss francs (,000), half of which will be suspended for two years, for failing to keep the fan off the pitch.

European champions Milan immediately indicated they would appeal, saying the ban was excessive and the real villain was the fan.

UEFA's appeals commission decided on Monday to halve Dida's suspension based on a paragraph in the regulations of European soccer's governing body stating ''players, officials and members shall conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship''.

Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa told the club's Web site (www.acmilan.com): ''After discussions, the decision was reached based on an agreement between the parties''.

Dida stood in the centre circle and bowed to each corner of the ground before Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Empoli to say sorry for the incident, Milan's first home game since the defeat at Celtic.

The Celtic supporter, who identified himself to police the day after the match, was given a lifetime ban by the Scottish champions.

REUTERS TB BD1811

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