Sassuolo's Federico Di Francesco: I did not racially abuse Douglas Costa
Sassuolo forward Federico Di Francesco has refuted allegations Douglas Costa spat at him because he had been racially abused.
Costa was sent off during Juventus' 2-1 win over Sassuolo when he was seen spitting in Di Francesco's mouth -- the incident coming on the back of a strong challenge, elbow and head-butt. Costa's fury led to suggestions there was more to the incident than met the eye.
The Brazilian later posted an apology to the Juventus fans, his teammates and manager -- curiously omitting Di Francesco -- on Instagram and later replied to one user, insisting: "You don't know what he said to me."
But Di Francesco has categorically rejected any notion he was to blame for the incident.
"I am profoundly upset by the allegations and the inventions which have appeared on various national media outlets," he said. "All of this is offensive and denigratory.
"I will not allow racist behaviour and/or phrases that do not pertain to to my values and ethics, and that are fruits of the imagination of others, be attributed to me. I ask for and demand respect."
Costa is likely to receive a three-match ban for the incident.
Juventus's victory also saw Cristiano Ronaldo score his first two goals for the club, while Sassuolo's unbeaten run also came to an end.