Diego Costa has been banned for three matches after the Chelsea striker was found guilty of violent conduct. He will miss the crucial crunch match on Saturday evening against the defending champions Manchester City as well as the matches against Aston Villa and Everton in the Premier League. The Football Association has announced that an independent regulatory commission ruled that Costa deliberately stamped on the ankle of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can in Tuesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg match.
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 afternoon 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 striker 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 26-year-old Costa has a history of volatility on the football pitch during his time at Atlético Madrid and even this season for The Blues, but he has been of huge benefit to Chelsea so far this season since arriving from the Spanish capital for £32 million pounds last summer. His suspension could be of high significance to the team, who rely on his power and clinical finishing in-front of goal.