Brighton & Hove Albion were dealt a double blow in the bid to reach the Premier League on Saturday.
A 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough saw the Sussex side miss out on automatic promotion, with their Teesside opponents claiming second place instead.
To make matters worse for Brighton, midfielder Dale Stephens was sent off on 58 minutes, moments after scoring his side’s equaliser – to cancel out a rare Cristhian Stuani opener.
Stephens was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean for a studs-up challenge on Boro playmaker Gaston Ramirez.
Whether or not Stephens intended to hurt Ramirez is impossible to judge, but hurt him he did!
Ramirez was stretchered off the pitch with a horrible gash on his left leg.
The ball was clearly there to be won, but equally clear is the damage inflicted by Stephens, who could now be banned for three games.
Dale Stephens red card
If the FA do – as expected – dish out a three-match suspension, Stephens will miss Brighton’s entire playoff campaign, which will begin with a two-legged tie against Sheffield Wednesday, starting away from home on Friday.
The last three games between Brighton and Wednesday have ended 0-0, while only two goals have been scored in the past five league meetings between the teams.
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