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Digne & Cash knocked to floor by bottle thrown by angry Everton fan as duo celebrate Aston Villa goal

14:56 IST 22/01/2022
Lucas Digne, Matty Cash hit by projectile, Everton vs Aston Villa 2021-22
The duo - including ex-Toffees man Digne - were pelted amid celebrations for Emi Buendia's finish on the stroke of half-time

Lucas Digne and Matty Cash were both knocked to the floor by projectiles thrown at the pair by Everton supporters while celebrating Aston Villa's opener in the teams' Premier League clash on Saturday.

Emi Buendia netted a header from the former's corner deep into inury-time, just before the break at Goodison Park, as Duncan Ferguson's latest interim tenure got underway against old Liverpool enemy Steven Gerrard in the opposite dugout.

Yet as the visitors raced over to celebrate, both former Toffees man Digne - who only arrived at Villa this month after falling out of favour with previous boss Rafa Benitez - and Cash were struck by bottles hurled from the stands, forcing both down onto the turf. Everton later confirmed a fan had been arrested over the incident.

What happened?

With the game locked at 0-0 heading into first-half injury-time, and with Jordan Pickford having produced a superb save only moments earlier, a late Villa corner gave the visitors the chance to strike before the interval.

Digne, back for the first time at his former club since his departure, swung in the set-piece off the right wing for Buendia to head home, before the latter led his team-mates over to the Frenchman to celebrate by the flag.

Amid these scenes, a bottle was flung from the crowd by an apparent home supporter, impacting both Digne and Cash amid the group huddle, with both players dropping to the ground immediately afterwards.

What has been said?

Everton released a statement following the game, which they lost 1-0 with Buendia's goal decisive, confirming a supporter had been arrested for throwing a missile onto the pitch.

The statement read: "Everton security staff and Merseyside Police identified the supporter using CCTV footage.

"Several objects were thrown towards the pitch following Aston Villa’s goal at the end of the first half, with one missile appearing to strike two opposition players.

"Investigations in conjunction with the police are ongoing, and the Club will issue bans to any fans identified throwing objects."

Digne faces turbulent return to old side

The incident capped a lively return to Goodison Park for Digne, who has arguably been the biggest casualty of Benitez's ill-natured spell on the blue half of Merseyside.

The former Liverpool boss never delivered truly delivered upon his vast experience as one of Europe's most decorated managers, with his appointment likely to be reflected upon as a historically poor choice, even without his legendary status down the road in the rival territory of Anfield.

But his choice to effectively freeze Frenchman Digne out, forcing a sale to Villa shortly before his own exit, may look to be one of his defining legacies, as the defender came back to haunt his old side with an assist.

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