Chelsea striker Diego Costa has denied biting Gareth Barry during his side's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Everton. The 27-year-old Spaniard was sent off after a clash with the Everton midfielder at Goodison Park.
Costa went head-to-head with the former England man during the incident, but the centre-forward insisted he did not sink his teeth into Barry's neck.
"Diego spoke to club officials and expressed regret over his reaction to the challenge from Barry that led to his red card," a Chelsea spokesman said, according to the BBC. "But Diego was also very clear that he did not bite him at any point during that altercation."
Chelsea's interim manager Guus Hiddink claimed after the game he had not seen the incident that led to Costa's sending off. "I try to be fair in my judgement and it is difficult for me to say yes or no so I don't want to give judgement on this," the Chelsea boss said.
Meanwhile, Everton manager Roberto Martínez said Barry, 35, did not complain about the incident after the match at Goodison. "My interpretation is I don't think it was a key moment. It was an emotional game and rightly so," he said of the flashpoint involving the Chelsea striker.
"Diego Costa has a fighting spirit and I would like to praise the referee. The sending off of Diego Costa was right as I thought it was a second yellow card and the sending off of Gareth Barry was right.
"After we have won a game like this and got to Wembley, which our fans deserve so much, the last thing I am going to do is see if an opposing player has bit my player. Gareth Barry has said it is nothing to worry about. He is just disappointed he got a second yellow card."