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Diego Costa to fight stamping charge

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is contesting the Football Association's charge for violent conduct - a move which has the full support of the club.

The Spain international is facing an immediate three-match ban for his apparent stamp on the Liverpool's Emre Can during Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Costa has until 6pm to respond to the charge of violent conduct and it is understood the striker will be contesting.

The incident - one of several during an action-packed 120 minutes - happened in close proximity to the dugouts, but was missed by the match officials.

It was subsequently reviewed on video by referee Michael Oliver, with the charge following as part of the FA's fast-tracked procedures.

The fate of Costa's appeal will be known today.

There will be a resolution before tomorrow's mouth-watering contest with title rivals Manchester City - a match Chelsea have announced they will not be holding a press conference ahead of.

Blues manager Jose Mourinho will not be put into the crossfire ahead of the Stamford Bridge encounter, which comes just days after being fined £25,000 for claiming there was a "clear campaign" against his side.

Those comments came following the draw at Southampton on December 28, with the Portuguese making similar comments after Tuesday's 1-0 victory against Liverpool when defending Costa.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with Fiorentina for Juan Cuadrado worth an initial £23.3m with add-ons which would potentially satisfy the £26.8m release clause in the Colombian's contract, with Mohamed Salah likely to move to the Viola on loan as part of the deal.

Talks have progressed well between Chelsea and the Italian club as the Premier League leaders move efficiently towards securing a direct replacement for AndreSchurrle who will be sold before Monday's transfer deadline.

The Germany international is understood to have agreed personal terms with Wolfsburg and Chelsea want £30m for the player.

Belfast Telegraph


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