Brighton face a nervous wait to learn the extent of Evan Ferguson’s injury after the horror challenge from Liverpool midfielder Fabinho that saw him leave the stadium on crutches.
The Seagulls booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s side, with Kaoru Mitoma scoring a stunning injury time winner at the Amex Stadium.
18-year-old striker Ferguson was left in agony after a nasty challenge from Fabinho on 85 minutes, with the Brazilian midfielder raking his studs down the back of the striker’s right heel.
Fabinho was shown a yellow card for the challenge by referee David Coote with VAR reviewing the incident and deciding against upgrading it to a red.
Ferguson received treatment on the pitch before being replaced by Deniz Undav with the Irish youngster later seen leaving the stadium on crutches.
De Zerbi and Brighton are hoping Ferguson has avoided an ‘important’ injury but refused to condemn Fabinho for the challenge, insisting it was an ‘accident’ from the Liverpool star.
‘We are sorry for him [Ferguson],’ De Zerbi told beIN Sports.
‘The injury, we don’t know yet, but we will see in the next days and we hope for him and for the club that it will not be so important an injury.’
Asked if Fabinho was lucky to only receive a yellow card, he added: ‘No, I think Fabinho is a quality player. It can happen on the pitch, these accidents.’
Former Brighton striker Glenn Murray was convinced it was a red card challenge, insisting even Fabinho himself knew he should have been sent off as a result.
‘For me that’s a match changing incident so it needs to be reviewed,’ said Murray on ITV.
‘I can’t understand how the VAR referee can say that isn’t a red/ It is a terrible challenge.
‘The player knows it’s a red, he is waiting to be sent off and somehow remains on the field. That is me as a professional footballer, not as an ex-Brighton player.’
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