Leeds United winger's play-off suspension risk explained as Daniel Farke guards against Norwich City dark arts

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The EFL has confirmed to the YEP that players shown yellow cards in each leg of this season's Championship play-off semi-final legs will not be suspended for the final at Wembley Stadium, should their team qualify.

Four players were booked during Leeds' opening leg encounter with Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon, including the Whites' Willy Gnonto.

The Italian was cautioned after sarcastically applauding match official Josh Smith, appearing to disagree with a decision the referee had made.

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Gnonto's cheap yellow ultimately led manager Daniel Farke to substitute the lively wide attacker during the second half, in order to guard against a second booking and subsequent suspension in the return leg at Elland Road this Thursday.

"He had some bruises and was also bleeding a little bit but we also have to keep in mind, especially the offensive players they need to be fresh to work their magic and we have important game on Thursday," Farke said.

"And he was also booked, yellow card, there was one incident when you could sense, I think it was Sainz fouled him, he get a free kick but then pretended anyhow to get a hit and wanted to get a yellow-red card. You could sense, Norwich is a very, very experienced side, that they thought perhaps okay it’s a young 20-year-old Italian international, perhaps we can provoke him and I didn't want to take this risk.

"Again no complaints about Norwich because if you're an experienced side, you have to play this card in order to do this but didn't want to take any risks also for Thursday because we also need Willy [Gnonto] in a good shape and for that I think he played quite well. But then after 70 minutes or so under this conditions in this hot temperature, I think it was the right choice to take him off," Farked added.

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Three Canaries players - Christian Fassnacht, Dimitris Giannoulis and Shane Duffy - were also booked at Carrow Road despite committing seven fewer fouls than Leeds.

The EFL and Football Association's 'Essential Information for Players 2023-24' handbook confirms suspensions are not accrued for yellow cards in both home and away legs at the semi-final stage. This means Gnonto and the Norwich trio are not at risk of missing the Wembley finale, should they be cautioned again on Thursday evening.

Gnonto, however, will miss out on the play-off final if he is shown a straight red card or picks up two yellows at Elland Road. This applies to all players as normal and is no different from FA disciplinary rules throughout the regular season.

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