GRAPHIC CONTENT: Dale Stephens tackle leaves Gaston Ramirez with sickening shin injury
Brighton and Hove Albion defender Dale Stephens was shown a red card just minutes after scoring an equaliser against Middlesbrough after a dangerously high challenge on Gaston Ramirez left the on-loan midfielder with a gruesome gash to his shin.
The Southampton player, who joined Boro on loan in January until the end of the Championship season, was forced to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher during the promotion decider after the wound opened up on the front of his shin.
Ramirez had controlled a high ball and pulled it back towards him when Stephens challenged for the ball, but his studs-up challenge caught the Uruguay international on the leg and left him in a heap on the turf.
Ramirez initially looked to be in some discomfort, but after pulling down his sock to reveal the full extent of the damage, the shock of the injury soon set in and he required oxygen before being taken off the Riverside pitch.
WARNING: Some readers may find the following images distressing...
Stephens was immediately sent-off by referee Mike Dean despite pleading his case, with the score locked remaining 1-1 until the final whistle after Christhian Stuani’s opener gave Boro the lead.
Middlesbrough will join Championship winners Burnley in being promoted to the Premier League, with the Seagulls needing to secure promotion via the play-offs after finishing the regular season in third.