Football: Everton's Gareth Barry clarifies that Chelsea's Diego Costa did not bite him

The incident where Diego Costa was alleged to have bitten Gareth Barry.
The incident where Diego Costa was alleged to have bitten Gareth Barry.PHOTO: BBC

LONDON • Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has confirmed that he was not bitten by Diego Costa as the controversial Chelsea striker found himself at the centre of a fresh storm on Saturday.

The Spanish footballer was dismissed for a second bookable offence six minutes from the end of his side's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Goodison Park, after an ugly clash with Barry during which he appeared to make a motion to bite the Englishman.

Barry did not speak to the media after the game, but dismissed the allegation yesterday on the social media platform Fanzai.

"Seen a lot of talk about the incident involving me and Diego Costa... For the record Diego did not bite me," he posted.

Costa also denied biting Barry in a club statement late on Saturday.

The Football Association is awaiting referee Michael Oliver's report before making a judgement on the Spain international's latest misdemeanour, although Barry's evidence could prove invaluable.

Costa could also face disciplinary action for his furious reaction towards Oliver on being sent off and making a crude gesture to the home fans, according to The Mail on Sunday.

However, Burnley midfielder Joey Barton, himself no stranger to the game's disciplinary chiefs, has urged the authorities not to over-react to "pantomime villain" Costa's most recent rush of blood.

Barton told BBC Radio 5: "What we have to remember is nobody has died. It's a game of football. You have had two grown men basically square up, no punches have been thrown, nothing serious has happened, both have gone home to their families, one team has lost, one team has won.

"We have to be careful not to get too carried away. We have to remember what makes football football. It's that kind of thing, it's goals, it's playing on the edge, it's high intensity, it's high passion."

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink, who said his player had been "chased" during the game, later joked that he and Costa should go together to watch the film Anger Management after a catalogue of incidents since the striker's £32 million (S$63.2 million) arrival at Stamford Bridge.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2016, with the headline 'Barry clarifies Costa did not bite him'. Print Edition | Subscribe