Diego Costa: Chelsea striker will miss Manchester City clash after being suspended for three matches for stamping on Emre Can

Costa had appealed the charge but was found guilty

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The Independent Football

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been banned for three matches with immediate effect after being found guilty of violent conduct, the Football Association has announced.

The striker, 26, will miss the crucial clash with Manchester City on Saturday evening as well as the match at Aston Villa and the home game against Everton on 11 February.

Costa, who stamped on Liverpool's Emre Can in the opening minutes of the Capital One Cup semi final second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, had appealed against the decision but was unsuccessful.

The charge caused Jose Mourinho to today cancelled his pre-match press conference in an attempt to avoid getting into further trouble with the FA. Costa did not face a charge for a later stamp on Martin Skrtel.

In a poll run by The Independent this morning (now closed), an overwhelming 222 of 301 voters, 74 per cent, DID NOT think that Costa should be handed a ban for his stamp on Emre Can.

Mourinho claimed the incident, which occurred in front of the dugouts but was missed by the match officials, was "absolutely accidental".

Mourinho.jpg
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claimed the incident was 'absolutely accidental'

It was subsequently reviewed on video by referee Michael Oliver, with the charge following on Wednesday 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 forward 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 ban for the Brazil-born Spain striker is only likely to strengthen the Blues boss' view. The absence of Costa, who has scored 17 times in 19 Premier League appearances, is a major blow for Chelsea.

The City clash completes a tumultuous eight days at Stamford Bridge, which saw Chelsea dumped out of the FA Cup by League One Bradford, who inflicted the Blues' first home loss of the season, before advancing to Wembley in the Capital One Cup at Liverpool's expense.

Victory for Chelsea, who enter the weekend with a five-point lead over the holders, would give them an eight-point advantage with 15 games to go.

Lose and momentum would swing to City, who have lost to Arsenal and Middlesbrough in their last two games.

There is the additional sideshow of Frank Lampard, Chelsea's record goalscorer, returning to the ground where he spent 13 years, having said he would never play for another Premier League club.

Lampard scored an 85th-minute equaliser in the corresponding fixture in September, after which Manuel Pellegrini called Chelsea a "small team".

Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Filipe Luis (calf) and Branislav Ivanovic (foot) are doubts after picking up injuries against Liverpool.

Gary Cahill is expected to be a substitute once more, with Kurt Zouma continuing in defence, while Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah are likely to miss out as reports intensify of imminent moves for the out-of-favour pair.

Additional reporting from PA

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