Inter Milan's Felipe Melo banned for three games for kicking opponent

Inter Milan midfielder Felipe Melo has been banned for three games for kicking an opponent in the head.

Melo, who had already conceded a penalty, was sent off towards the end of Inter's 2-1 home defeat to Lazio on Sunday after catching Lazio's Lucas Biglia in the side of his face with a high boot.

The Brazil international was subsequently hit with a hefty suspension by Lega Serie A, which on Tuesday charged him with violent conduct - namely "voluntarily striking an opponent with a kick above shoulder height."

The ban rules the former Galatasaray player out of January trips to Empoli and Atalanta, and the intervening meeting with Sassuolo at the San Siro.

Inter moved to deny reports of dressing-room unrest before and after the Lazio defeat, which saw their lead at the top of Serie A cut to just one point going into the winter break.