After appearing to stomp on two separate Liverpool players during Chelsea’s fiery 1-0 League Cup semifinal win on Tuesday, Diego Costa could be handed a retrospective ban and miss Chelsea’s massive clash against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra).
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Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 after extra time at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the second leg of the League Cup semifinal to reach the final at Wembley after beating the Reds 2-1 on aggregate. Costa looked to have had a clear penalty kick waved away by the referee in the first half, as the new villain of the Premier League continues to cause havoc.
In accordance with League Cup rules, which differ to those of the Premier League, referee Michael Oliver will have the final say on whether Costa can be handed a ban retrospectively after he was not punished for two incidents involving Liverpool’s Emre Can and Martin Skrtel. If referee Oliver, who is expected to be asked about the incident by the English Football Association on Wednesday, and all four officials say they did not see the incident, then it will be reviewed and Costa could be charge with a red-card offence for his actions and a three-game ban for violent conduct may be sanctioned.
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The incident with Can occurred just 11 minutes into the match as Costa appeared to stamp on the Liverpool man right in front of the two benches. His actions incensed Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, while Jose Mourinho continues to defend his player.
Costa, 26, is Chelsea’s top scorer with 17 goals in 27 appearances this term and if he misses the massive clash against City on Saturday (a win means Chelsea would jump eight points clear of the Citizens at the top of the table) it would deal a huge blow to Mourinho’s side.
All eyes will now be on Oliver, as the referee may be asked to assess the incident retrospectively. If, on a second viewing, he believes Costa to be guilty of violent conduct, then the Spanish international will be handed a three-game ban which would begin immediately.
If handed a retrospective ban then Costa can appeal the charges and will have a hearing before Saturday’s clash against City.