Chelsea striker Costa given three-match ban for Can stamp
Diego Costa has been banned for three matches after the Chelsea striker was found guilty of violent conduct.
The Football Association has announced that an independent regulatory commission ruled that Costa deliberately stamped on the ankle of Liverpool’s Emre Can in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.
Costa and Chelsea have no right to appeal, with Costa ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League showdown with Manchester City, as well as matches with Aston Villa and Everton.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claimed the incident, which occurred in front of the dugouts but was missed by the match officials, was "absolutely accidental".
It was subsequently reviewed on video by referee Michael Oliver, with the charge following on Wednesday as part of the FA’s fast-tracked procedures.
Costa contested the charge on Thursday, but on Friday was found guilty and immediately banned.
A FA statement read: "Diego Costa will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after a charge of violent conduct against him was found proven by an independent regulatory commission today (Friday, January 30, 2015).
"The Chelsea forward had denied the charge in relation to an on-field incident involving Liverpool’s Emre Can which occurred in the 12th minute of the League Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.
"The incident was not seen by the match officials but caught on video."
Mourinho cancelled his usual Friday pre-match media conference after Costa’s charge and his own £25,000 fine for stating last month that there was a "clear campaign" against Chelsea.
The ban for the Brazil-born Spain striker is only likely to strengthen the Blues boss’ view.
The absence of Costa, who has scored 17 times in 19 Premier League appearances, is a major blow for Chelsea.
The City clash completes a tumultuous eight days at Stamford Bridge, which saw Chelsea dumped out of the FA Cup by League One Bradford, who inflicted the Blues’ first home loss of the season, before advancing to Wembley in the Capital One Cup at Liverpool’s expense.
Victory for Chelsea, who enter the weekend with a five-point lead over the holders, would give them an eight-point advantage with 15 games to go.
Lose and momentum would swing to City, who have lost to Arsenal and Middlesbrough in their last two games.
There is the additional sideshow of Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, returning to the ground where he spent 13 years, having said he would never play for another Premier League club.
Lampard scored an 85th-minute equaliser in the corresponding fixture in September, after which Manuel Pellegrini called Chelsea a "small team".
Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Filipe Luis (calf) and Branislav Ivanovic (foot) are doubts after picking up injuries against Liverpool.
Gary Cahill is expected to be a substitute once more, with Kurt Zouma continuing in defence, while Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah are likely to miss out as reports intensify of imminent moves for the out-of-favour pair.
With Chelsea adhering to Financial Fair Play regulations, Schurrle’s sale must be complete for Blues to complete a deal for Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado before Monday’s transfer deadline.
Salah could be used in a makeweight in the Cuadrado deal.
World Cup winner Schurrle is nearing a reported 30 million euros (£22.5million) switch, which his agent Ingo Haspel told Germany’s SID agency "should go through on Friday."
"There are still a few things to discuss, but we’re no longer talking about figures," Haspel added. "The fact is, all of the required signatures are still lacking,"
Wolfsburg director of sport Klaus Allofs told ARD television: "No contract has been signed and I’m a bit old-fashioned and there are still some obstacles to get round. The ink is not yet dry."