Mascherano escapes FA charge for swinging at Leeds striker Beckford
Javier Mascherano became the second high-profile player to escape FA action in the space of 24 hours yesterday after he was cleared of any wrongdoing in Liverpool's Carling Cup win over Leeds United. The combative Liverpool midfielder looked to be heading for a violent conduct charge after swinging his arm round and catching Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford on the back of the head in his side's 1-0 win at Elland Road on Tuesday. But, just as Craig Bellamy escaped scot-free after pushing his fist into a fan's face at the end of Sunday's Manchester derby, Mascherano avoided any repercussions for his loss of control after an FA spokesman told Sportsmail: 'There will be no action against the player.' Though manager Rafa Benitez sprang to the defence of Mascherano, Liverpool knew their influential Argentina skipper could have faced a three-match ban as they waited to discover whether referee Alan Wiley had seen the incident. Sportsmail understands Wiley was concerned his view was slightly obscured and that he asked to see it again yesterday. After studying video footage, he gave Mascherano the benefit of the doubt over intent and ruled that it was not worthy of a red card. The let-off follows referee Martin Atkinson's decision that Bellamy's post-match flare-up with a fan at Old Trafford did not warrant a sending off. The fiery City striker reacted angrily to the fan's appearance on the pitch and had to be dragged away after appearing to land a punch.
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