Manchester United’s Jonny Evans denies spitting, but Cisse apologizes as ban looms (video)

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Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has vehemently denied spitting at Newcastle United forward Papiss Cisse, while the Newcastle forward has apologized for his part in the unsavory incident.

During the first half of United’s 1-0 win at Newcastle on Wednesday, Evans and Cisse came together in the center of the pitch after the former fouled Cisse. Evans then spat downwards, which appeared to hit Cisse, and the Newcastle forward then spat back in Evans’ direction. See the video below to make your own mind up.

[ RELATED: Did Cisse, Evans spit? ]

The incident, which was initially missed by referee Anthony Taylor, incensed Cisse and other players close by as the alleged spitting incident could be clearly seen in TV replays. Evans, 27, has released the following statement to deny he spat at Cisse. Both players, if found guilty by the English Football Association, could face six-game bans.

“Having woken up this morning I am shocked to have seen the media coverage from last night’s match. I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cisse.

“I was totally unaware of any spitting incident and had assumed that the issue at the time was with the challenge and his attempted retaliation to the tackle from the floor. During the game Papiss Cisse and I spoke about the incident and it is clear by my reaction in the television footage that I was totally surprised by any suggestion of spitting.

“It is not in my character or in my nature to spit at anybody nor is it something I have ever done or would ever do. It is certainly not something that I did last night.”

Moments later Cisse, 29, released the following statement via Newcastle’s website, as the apologized profusely for his part in the incident.

“I have apologies to make to a lot of people today. Firstly to my teammates and to our supporters, secondly to Jonny Evans, and thirdly to every football fan who saw the incident between myself and Jonny.

“I reacted to something I found very unpleasant. Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be positive a role model, especially for our young fans, and yesterday I let you down.

“I hope children out there playing football for their clubs and schools this weekend will know better than to retaliate when they are angry. Perhaps when they see the problem it now causes me and my team they will be able to learn from my mistake, not copy it.”

Below is a video of the incident. What do you think of Evans denial after you watch it? Should both players be banned for six games?