Chelsea match-winner Salomon Kalou has denied celebrating his goals with a political 'handcuff' gesture in support of an Ivory Coast activist.
Kalou's double in the 58th and 80th minutes was enough to lift Chelsea into second place in the Barclays Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough but his celebration, crossing his wrists, was alleged to have been in support of Ivory Coast political activist Antoine Assale Tiemoko.
A spokesperson for Chelsea declared: "Salomon says there was nothing in it. He was just trying out a new celebration and it was a crossing of the arms. He also sometimes puts his hand over his face like a mask."
Tiemoko was released from a one-year prison sentence last month after being convicted of 'libelling the prosecutor's office' and being in 'contempt of court'.
Tiemoko, an occasional contributor to the daily Le Nouveau Reveil, was arrested in December 2007 after the newspaper had published his opinion piece on judicial corruption.
The speculation that it was a political gesture was heightened when Ivory Coast team-mate Didier Drogba also appeared to cross his wrists.
But there was no doubt over Kalou's finishing in a game that was largely overshadowed by a touchline spat involving Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and Middlesbrough assistant Malcolm Crosby.
Meanwhile, Southgate accused Scolari of attempting to get Mohamed Shawky sent off when the Middlesbrough player, who had already been booked, was penalised for handball.
The pair exchanged angry words after the incident and Southgate later revealed that Scolari had refused to shake hands at the end of the game.
"There were words between my assistant and Phil Scolari," said Southgate. "He seemed to want to get one of my players booked. He didn't shake hands at the end. A strange reaction, but that's his prerogative."
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