UEFA's disciplinary unit has launched an investigation into whether Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso deliberately incurred red cards.
The two players were sent off for time wasting late in Real Madrid's 4-0 win against Ajax in Amsterdam, and their suspensions will rule them out of the dead rubber against Auxerre next week, while wiping their disciplinary records ahead of the knock-out stages.
On Wednesday UEFA confirmed they were aware of the incidents and have instructed disciplinary officials to look into them before deciding whether any charges are to be brought. Under article 5.1 of UEFA's regulations dealing with loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship both players could be charged and have their suspensions extended.
The sendings off both looked deliberate, with substitute goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek apparently relaying a message that Alonso and Ramos, having already been booked, should time waste and seek a second yellow so as to get any ban out of the way. Alonso delayed taking a free-kick and Ramos delayed taking a goal-kick for Iker Casillas.
Dutch broadcaster NOS also showed footage of Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho speaking to Alonso on the touchline before he picked up his second caution.
However Mourinho has denied instructing his players to seek deliberate red cards.
Mourinho said: "I spoke with many players throughout the game, not only with Ramos and Alonso.
"The two red cards were the result of strange referee bookings in an easy game to monitor.
"I didn't like them one bit, but if Ramos or Alonso can't face Auxerre others will take their place. We will not give our game against the French away. We want to win all our matches."