Diego Costa was sent off for the first time in his Chelseacareer after a bizarre incident between the striker andEverton’s Gareth Barry which prompted a ‘bite’ controversy.
Costa, infuriated by a late challenge in a fiery FA Cup tie, confronted the former England midfielder with images of his mouth over Barry’s neck leading to talk of a potential bite.
The Chelsea striker was seen talking in Barry’s ear after the ramming of heads, before attempting to hug the Everton player as he was given his marching orders.
The footage led many to speculate that Costa may have bitten Barry in the neck, but Costa denied everything while also apologising for his reaction in a statement released by Chelsea.
“Diego spoke to club officials after the game and expressed regret over his reaction to the challenge from Gareth Barry that led to his red card, but Diego was also very clear that he did not bite him at any point during that altercation,” the statement said.
Fans had launched wild speculation that Costa had bitten his opponent, despite the fact that Barry’s reaction hardly merited such a conclusion.
And Barry’s manager brushed the incident aside.
“Gareth has said it is nothing to worry about,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez. “The last thing I am going to do on a day like this is to see if an opposing player has bitten my player.
“It was not a key moment, it did not have an impact on the result or the scoreline, it came after both the goals had been scored.”Chelsea’s Diego Costa is sent off by referee Michael Oliver.
“I didn’t see the Diego Costa incident,” said Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink. “If I had have seen it I would give proper comment so it is difficult to give a comment on that.”
It was another crushing blow for Chelsea with the club’s last hope of silverware this season ending at Goodison Park with former player Romelu Lukaku netting an inspired brace.
The sending off for Costa capped a hugely-disappointing display from Guus Hiddink’s side with their season all but over in mid-March.
Barry was later shown a red card himself after a late challenge on Cesc Fabregas.