Magpies lose Bassong appeal
Relegation-threatened Newcastle have lost their appeal against Sebastien Bassong's dismissal on Saturday. The 22-year-old Frenchman was shown a straight red card by referee Howard Webb after tangling with Fulham striker Diomansy Kamara. Bassong will now miss the club's final Barclays Premier League game of the season at Aston Villa on Sunday. Because it was his second red card of the season, he will serve a two-match ban with immediate effect, ruling Bassong out of the first game of the 2009/2010 campaign as well. Bassong was red-carded 60 minutes into a potentially pivotal game for the Magpies with his side trailing to Kamara's first-half strike. The incident came just 10 minutes after Webb had chalked off a Mark Viduka header which would have levelled the scores and sent the Tyneside club to Villa Park sitting just outside the relegation zone rather than inside it. Manager Alan Shearer is facing a major selection headache, with Habib Beye struggling with a hamstring injury while strikers Michael Owen, whose scan showed no seriuos cause for concern, and Obafemi Martins both battling groin problems. A draw against Villa would keep Newcastle in the top flight providing Hull lose at home to Manchester United - although they would have to win if the Tigers got a point. A victory for Phil Brown's men would ensure they finished above the Magpies regardless of what happens at Villa Park.
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