EPL 2023: Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta stretchered off after being kicked in head and knocked out vs Southampton

Cesar Azpilicueta suffered a horror blow to the face when Sekou Mara attempted an overhead kick in hugely distressing scenes.

The Sun reports the Chelsea defender, 33, was struck by the stray boot in his own penalty area during his side’s Premier League defeat to Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

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He immediately fell to the ground and was stricken as teammates and opposition players desperately called medical staff on to rush on and assist.

Replays were not shown on the Premier League live feed as the treatment continued.

Club doctors from both teams initially tended to the club captain but St John’s Ambulance paramedics took over in disturbing scenes in West London.

Players on both sides looked visibly shocked after the freak accidental incident.

The match was stopped for ten minutes before he was placed on the stretcher with a neck brace and oxygen mask.

He was given a rapturous applause and had his name chanted on his way towards the ambulance emergency exit of the stadium.

And the Spanish veteran was definitely conscious as he gave a wave to the fans.

Speaking after the match, manager Graham Potter revealed that at one stage Azpilicueta slipped out of consciousness.

But he had good news on his condition, revealing the defender was able to talk to his wife.

He said: “He’s in hospital, the best place. He’s conscious and he’s speaking to his wife.”

The fourth official added 12 minutes of injury time at the end of the game following the 74th-minute horror moment, for which Mara received a yellow card.

Supporters at home to took to Twitter to send their best wishes to Azpilicueta, who has the nickname of Dave.

One said: “I hope Azpilicueta is okay. That looked horrible, it really did. Real class shown by both the team’s medical staffs. Just hoping he is okay.”

Another wrote: “Awful injury to our Dave. I hope to goodness it’s not as serious as it looks.”

And a third added: “Scary scenes at Stamford Bridge – prayers for Azpilicueta.”

Chelsea also wrote a “stay strong skipper” message.

The Blues lost 1-0 to bottom-side Saints thanks to James Ward-Prowse’s superb free-kick just before halftime.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

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