Chris Hughton has insisted that Brighton match-winner Tomer Hemed’s stamp on DeAndre Yedlin was an accident.
Israel striker Hemed’s hooked strike sealed Brighton’s 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle, but the 30-year-old then courted controversy by stamping on Yedlin in a late tangle.
Brighton boss Hughton watched a replay of the 89th-minute clash and claimed there was no malice in Hemed’s stamp, that was missed by officials.
Hemed could face a three-match ban if found guilty of foul play by an FA disciplinary committee, and any absence may leave Brighton short of striking options with Glenn Murray still nursing ankle trouble.
“I have seen it and my absolute impression was that there was no intention, particularly knowing the player,” said Hughton.
“My first impression was that there was absolutely no intent. It’s obviously very fresh at the moment. I was unaware of it at the time, and I have just been shown it.”
When asked if he would fear Hemed facing retrospective disciplinary action, Hughton replied: “All I can do is give you my opinion. And that is that there’s certainly no intent.”
Hemed’s second goal of the campaign denied Newcastle the chance to move fourth in the Premier League table, ending the visitors’ run of three straight wins.
Hemed apologised to Yedlin for their late tangle, insisting he had not meant to stamp on the Newcastle defender.
“It was by accident,” Hemed told Sky Sports. “If I hurt him I am sorry.”
Newcastle star Yedlin offered a cautious defence of Hemed’s actions, hinting he felt the Brighton star’s challenge was unintentional.
“I thought he stamped on my calf but didn’t see what happened,” said Yedlin.
“Maybe it was accidental. It was in the mix of things. Whatever it was it’s not important. Whoever is on the committee who punishes that sort of thing will figure it out.”