On This Day: Luis Suarez bites Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, receives 10-match ban

By: Sports Desk |

Updated: April 21, 2020 6:24:32 pm

Before Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Luis Suarez had previously bitten PSV’s Otman Bakkal in 2010. (Screengrab)

On April 21, 2013, Luis Suarez scored his 30th goal of the season and secured a point for Liverpool at Anfield with a dramatic injury-time equaliser to make it 2-2 against Chelsea. But that’s not what the day is remembered for, as it is unfortunately marked as the day when the Uruguayan bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on his right arm which subsequently handed him a 10-match ban.

Seven years ago, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool hosted Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea, in a race for a UEFA Champions League spot. In the first half itself, the visiting London-side took the lead from a corner after Oscar headed in the opener.

The Brazilian’s goal was cancelled out early in the second half after a fine Liverpool passage of play handed Daniel Sturridge a golden chance for an equaliser, which he converted with ease. But five minutes later, Eden Hazard took the lead again for the Blues in the 56th minute from the spot after Suarez handled the ball inside the penalty area.

Trailing at home 2-1, Liverpool were throwing everything they had at Chelsea. But Suarez took it too far when in a rush of madness, he took a chunk out of Ivanovic’s arm in the second-half. The incident wasn’t caught by the referee’s eye though and he managed to stay on the pitch without getting sent-off.

Things turned worse for Chelsea when Suarez went on to score the equaliser in the 90+7th minute of the match through a near post header which beat Petr Cech. After the match, the forward took to Twitter to apologise for his behavior.

“I’m sad for what happened this afternoon, I apologize Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I’m so sorry about it!!,” tweeted Suarez.

Speaking about the event, Ivanovic later said, “When it happened I was surprised and angry. But after the game, I calmed down, and all was forgotten. We spoke on the phone, I accepted the apology, the police did not press charges.”

Subsequently, the Football Association (FA) punished Suarez with a 10-match ban, which made him miss the remainder of the 2012/13 season. When he returned to action in September of the 2013/14 season, Suarez led Liverpool to a title challenge and won the Player of the Year award for his record-equalling 31 goals in 33 appearances.

Remarkably, this was just one of three biting incidents for Suarez, as he was earlier banned for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal as AFC Ajax’s captain in 2010. Then, Suarez went feasting for the third time, when he sunk his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder in Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy at the 2014 World Cup.

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