Fernando Torres could be handed three-game ban after Jan Vertonghen incident
Fernando Torres will face an additional three-match ban if the referee, Mike Dean, did not have a clear view of the Chelsea striker scratching Jan Vertonghen’s face during Saturday’s feisty 1-1 draw at Tottenham. Now that referees no longer submit details of bookings and sendings-off to the media after matches, it is unclear whether Torres received the first of his two yellow cards for his trip on Vertonghen or the incident that followed.
If Dean and his assistant Jake Collin did not have a clear view of the apparent scratching, retrospective action can be taken. If the referee saw it, however, and cautioned him for that, Torres will escape with a ban for only one match: Sunday’s game at Norwich. He received his second yellow card, unluckily, when Vertonghen made the most of an aerial challenge nine minutes from the end.
At that point Chelsea were preparing to bring on a second striker, Samuel Eto’o, alongside Torres because Jose Mourinho thought his side could complete their recovery from 1-0 down and win the game. “I felt sorry we went down to 10 because Spurs were in trouble,” Mourinho said. “Sometimes you feel the game is there to win.”
Having surprisingly preferred to start with Eto’o in the recent defeats against Everton and Basle, Mourinho has been impressed with the way Torres responded: “From television I was watching Fernando’s matches for Chelsea in other seasons and he looked to me a bit heavy, a little slow. I think Fernando now looks in fantastic shape. And I think he played a very good game. He knows I’m very happy with his performances.”
Torres’s enforced absence next weekend means he is more likely to start in the Champions League away to Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday, for which Juan Mata has also impressed the manager sufficiently to guarantee a place after coming on at half-time against Spurs and helping to transform the game.
Mourinho – who, Football Association sources say, is not expected to face any action for his comments on Saturday’s events, when he said Dean was taken in by Vertonghen simulating an injury – believes Chelsea must win in Romania to revive their prospects after losing the first group match at home to Basle.
“Even a draw is probably not a good result for us,” he said. “We have to have 12 points, so if we lose we have four matches to play and have to win four. If you make a second mistake you are right on the edge.”
Champions League: Eye on the opposition
Steaua Bucharest went top of Romanian Liga 1 after running out comfortable 3-0 winners at home to Poli Timisoara ahead of Chelsea’s Group E visit on Tuesday.
Striker Federico Piovaccari opened the scoring on Saturday, Nicolae Stanciu added a second from the spot and winger Adrian Popa grabbed the third.
Latest in Sport
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now