Belfast Telegraph

Alonso could miss Wembley date after FA charge

By Jonathan Veal

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso has been charged with violent conduct by the FA after an incident involving Shane Long during Saturday's win over Southampton, and could miss this weekend's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Alonso's challenge in the 43rd minute was not seen by the match officials but was caught by Sky Sports' television cameras, and the FA have decided to act retrospectively after the incident was reviewed by a panel of former elite officials. The Spaniard appeared to stamp on Long.

The officials unanimously decided that after independently reviewing the challenge, it was a sending-off offence.

Alonso has until 6pm today to respond to the charge. Chelsea meet Southampton again this weekend in the FA Cup semi-final, a game that Alonso is now at risk of being suspended for.

It could mean a call-up for January signing Emerson Palmieri, who has struggled for game time since his £18m move from Roma.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have made initial contact with Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as they search for Antonio Conte's successor.

Conte is expected to leave his position as Chelsea manager at the end of the season after two years in charge.

He led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge but the Blues have struggled in the defence of their crown and are currently on course to miss out on a Champions League qualification spot as they sit eight points behind Tottenham who are fourth.

Conte has also criticised the club's transfer policy and Chelsea are now preparing to bring in a new boss - with Sarri having emerged as a real contender.

Belfast Telegraph

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