CHELSEA defender Branislav Ivanovic has escaped a three-match ban for his altercation with Everton’s James McCarthy during the Premier League leaders’ late win on Wednesday night.
A three-man panel of former referees reviewed the flashpoint, which was missed by referee Jonathan Moss and his assistants, but ruled that the Serb’s behaviour did not merit a red card.
Both Chelsea and Everton could face fines, however, after being charged with failing to control their players in the mass confrontation that saw Ivanovic grapple with McCarthy.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho abruptly ended a post-match television interview and threatened to walk out of his press conference due to questioning about the Ivanovic incident. The right-back manhandled McCarthy in the 86th minute as both teams reacted to a foul by Gareth Barry that brought the Everton midfielder a second yellow card. Willian scored the winner moments later.
Mourinho was fined last month for claiming there was a “campaign” against his players that resulted in their unfair treatment by officials. That sense of injustice was fuelled when striker Diego Costa received a retrospective three-match ban for treading on Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Chelsea had further cause for cheer yesterday when midfielder Eden Hazard signed a new contract committing him to the Stamford Bridge club until the summer of 2020.
Hazard has scored 43 goals in 147 games since joining from Lille in 2012.