Madrid - The Champions League battle of Madrid left Atletico striker Mario Mandzukic with a bloodied face and controversy over whether he was bitten by Real defender Dani Carvajal.
Carvajal strongly denied even trying to bite the Croatian striker. But he could still face action for landing a punch at Mandzukic that the referee did not see.
Madrid newspapers speculated that the 23 year-old Spanish international could be suspended for next week's return match in their Champions League quarter final.
The tie was left 0-0 after Tuesday's first leg at the Vicente Calderon stadium, but there was much spotlight on the Carvajal-Mandzukic clash.
Battling in the penalty area, Mandzukic's arm is raised to hold back his rival. As Carvajal moves round, his mouth comes close to Mandzukic's arm and then he lands a punch in the striker's stomach.
Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was unsighted and Carvajal was extremely lucky not to concede a penalty for the punch. But the images soon dominated social media and Carvajal, who could still face retroactive action by UEFA, was quick to react on his Twitter account.
Also read: Mandzukic a doubt for Madrid derby
"I saw after the game that I am accused of biting an opponent player, I want to clarify that I have not bitten anyone, nor attempted to," he said.
Film from the mixed zone after the game, broadcast by Spanish channel Neox, showed a small cut on Mandzukic's arm. But there was no way of telling whether it was a cut.
The 28-year-old Croatian had already been in the wars.
He was left with a bloody nose thanks to a stray elbow from Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.
Carvajal's absence for the second leg would be a blow for Real Madrid next Wednesday. They will already be without another key defender Marcelo who reached his yellow card limit in the game.
Football bites have been a major talking point since Uruguayan Luis Suarez was banned from all football activity for four months last year for sinking his teeth into Italian World Cup opponent Giorgio Chiellini.
Atletico Madrid's Mario Suarez made an apology meanwhile for making comments about the Serbian referee after the goalless draw.
"The referee was very bad. You can't have a Serbian in charge of a Champions League quarter-final, that isn't taking it seriously enough," Suarez fumed after the game.
"I hope that in the second-leg the referee will be better with more fluid and normal decisions.
"The referee wasn't up to it, but they made mistakes as we do."
The 28-year-old defensive midfielder was booked in the game and will be suspended for the return. And he quickly backtracked on his comments on Twitter.
"I'd like to apologise if anyone was offended by my words after the match, that wasn't my intention," he said.
"I wanted to say that in a match of this magnitude you should designate a referee from a major league."
However his Brazilian teammate Miranda also said the referee for such a big game should not come from "a minor league".For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.