Asprilla denies wrong doing


COLOMBIAN striker Faustino Asprilla last night denied he had intentionally elbowed Manchester City defender Keith Curle during Saturday's Premiership match at Maine Road.

Asprilla, Newcastle's £7.5 million record signing, elbowed the former England defender in retaliation after Curle had pulled him back during the 3-3 draw.

But referee Martin Bodenham took no action and again did nothing when another wrestling bout between the two players - long after the final whistle - ended with Asprilla butting Curle.

The Football Association, however, began taking action within two hours, announcing that they would be studying video evidence of the two clashes and asking for the reports of the match officials.

FA spokeswoman Clare Tomlinson said that disciplinary measures would be taken if it was deemed necessary after the video footage had been viewed.

That could mean the 26 year old South American facing a lengthy ban and heavy fine, with the likelihood that he will be asked to appear before a disciplinary panel.

But Asprilla, whose temperamental nature and colourful past made him the subject of extensive media scrutiny, maintained last night that he had not deliberately elbowed Curle, although he did not discuss the later incident.

"I was trying to push him away and trying to escape," said Asprilla. "He had his arms around me and I wanted to get free. All I was trying to do was avoid him. I was pushing and pushing but I didn't know I had hit him in the face. It certainly wasn't my intention to elbow him - and what I did wasn't that strong."

While he sought to put his side of a story the Colombian accepted the clashes had put him in an unwanted media spotlight. Yes, I know what the papers are saying," he said.