Manchester United defender Patrice Evra was involved in an angry confrontation with Luis Suarez on Saturday during a pre—match handshake in the players’ first meeting since the Liverpool forward was banned for racially abusing the France international.
Suarez refused to shake hands with Evra when the lineups crossed prior to the Premier League match at Old Trafford, infuriating the United captain.
Evra tried to pull back the arm of Suarez as the Uruguay international moved to shake hands with David De Gea, who was next in the United line, but Suarez refused to turn back.
Evra threw his left arm up in disgust, while United teammate Rio Ferdinand pointedly refused to shake the hand of Suarez moments later. Evra was then spoken to by referee Phil Dowd.
Suarez recently returned from an eight—match suspension for repeatedly calling Evra “Negro” in the first league match between the fierce northwest rivals this season at Anfield on Oct. 15.
United manager Alex Ferguson said the prospect of a pre—match handshake would not be an issue but Suarez’s reaction is set to ensure the incident rumbles on, although the teams do not meet again this season.
Suarez was booed by United fans whenever he touched the ball after the game started, just as Evra was jeered by Liverpool supporters in the FA Cup fourth—round match between the sides two weeks ago.
There were reports that Evra tried to confront Suarez in the tunnel as the teams walked back to the dressing rooms at halftime, sparking a melee between the two sets of players.
The focus on the pre—match handshake was just as intense a fortnight ago in a match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers that also had a backdrop of racism.
QPR defender Anton Ferdinand the younger brother of Rio was spared having to decide whether to shake the hand of John Terry when the Football Association allowed the teams to forego the ritual before their match.
That match was the first meeting of the west London rivals since Terry was alleged to have racially abused Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.
Terry will face a criminal charge over the incident in July and has already been stripped of the England captaincy by the FA, a decision that led to the departure of Fabio Capello as coach this week.
Capello was unhappy he wasn’t consulted by the FA over the decision.
Keywords: Patrice Evra