Everton midfielder Andre Gomes suffered a horrific leg injury in Sunday’s Premier League match against Tottenham at Goodison Park.
A distressed Son Heung-min of Spurs was sent off in the 79th minute for the tackle on the Portuguese player.
The incident looked innocuous, but the mood changed among the players and crowd after they saw the full impact.
There was a six-minute stoppage as medics tended to Gomes before he was taken off on a stretcher.
The match eventually finished 1-1 after Cenk Tosun’s header in the 97th minute cancelled out Dele Alli’s earlier effort.
Everton manager Marco Silva said he was waiting to hear of the severity of the injury.
He said: “He’s gone to hospital. Our medical staff are in control.
“This is a bad moment for us and our team – this was more than a football game. We will give all support to Andre and his family. As a group we have to stay together and show the spirit we showed following the incident.”
Former Toffees midfielder Pat Nevin, who was a summariser for BBC Radio 5 Live at Goodison Park, described the events in the immediate aftermath of the injury to Gomes.
“This is horrible, horrible,” said the Scot. “The players look devastated and there is utter confusion here. Players with their heads in their hands.
“Son was distraught before he was sent off and his team-mate Serge Aurier can’t watch and is praying.
“There is so much confusion. He is being led straight to the corner to the ambulance to take him to hospital.”
The TV replay suggested that Gomes suffered the injury following a collision with full-back Aurier which resulted from the tackle by Son.
Referee Martin Atkinson initially showed the South Korean a yellow card before he changed his mind.
The Premier League explained: “The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player, which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge.”
Everton midfielder Fabian Delph appeared to still be affected in a post-match TV interview when asked about his team-mate.
“He’s one our brothers, someone we care about deeply,” said the former Manchester City player. “It’s hard to put into words. The sooner we can get in touch the better. That was difficult to see.”
‘Son can’t lift his head up’
Nevin said that Aurier and Son should be absolved of any blame.
He added: “Son deliberately tackles Gomes, but he does not cause that [the injury].
“He is catapulted from that challenge onto Aurier. To blame Son and to say he did that deliberately is 100% wrong. Son is not like that, he is not that kind of guy.
“He does not deserve the treatment he is going to get on social media. He is devastated – he was the cause, but it was not his fault. It’s just one of those things that happens in football.”
Goalscorer Alli said he found Son crying in the changing room after the final whistle.
“I didn’t want to look too much at what happened,” said the England midfielder. “I want to send Andre my best wishes.
“Son is devastated and in tears – it’s not his fault. Son is one of nicest people you’ve ever met. He can’t even lift his head up, he’s crying so much.
“The injury does play on your mind during the match but you have to stay professional.”