Juventus' Douglas Costa banned for four games after spitting at opponent

Juventus winger Douglas Costa has been given a four-match ban by Serie A after spitting at an opponent during the 2-1 win over Sassuolo.

Costa spat at Federico Di Francesco in the closing stages of Sunday's league match after a running feud in which the Brazil international had also elbowed and head-butted his opponent. Costa will be eligible to return to Serie A action when Juve host Genoa on Oct. 20.

Serie A confirmed the ban in its weekly disciplinary report on Tuesday, saying Costa's ban was "for unsporting behaviour on the field; for having spat in the face of an opponent, an infringement picked up by VAR in the 48th minute of the second half while play was halted."

Costa's behaviour was condemned immediately after the match by Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, who said he would be punished.

"It's only right that he is fined," Allegri said. "He certainly will be ... I was surprised by his reaction. We have suffered a goal, a red card and a suspension which will be long."

Costa will miss Juve's league games against Frosinone, Bologna and Napoli and Udinese, although he is eligible to face Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old said he was sorry for his behaviour in an Instagram post that read: "I would like to apologise to all Juventus fans for this misleading reaction in today's game. I also apologise to my teammates, who are always with me in the good and the bad times."

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."

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco came to the defence of his son, he was "indignant for what they said to Federico."

"He was the only one who was spat at and the only one not to get an apology," the Roma coach said on Tuesday at a news conference when asked about the incident. "I am proud of Federico, he behaved like a great man and the way he's been treated is absurd.

"On social media they almost made Douglas Costa into a victim. There were even some people who wished death upon me and my son."