Manchester United's Eric Bailly had to be rushed to hospital after a pair of nasty head knocks in his side's chastening 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
A pair of blunders from goalkeeper David de Gea and a Harry Macguire own goal helped the Blues seal a 3-1 win and set up an FA Cup final date with London rivals Arsenal - who beat Manchester City a day earlier.
United's misery was compounded by the worrying sight of Bailly leaving Wembley in a neck brace on a stretcher and requiring oxygen after a second brutal blow to his head.
Bailly went down in the first half of the match after an aerial collision with Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma.
The Ivorian looked a bit groggy getting to his feet but was down again moments later after clashing heads with his own captain, Macguire.
The United teammates both went up for a challenge with Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, with the top of Bailly's head clattering into Macguire's face.
After concussion checks for the pair, Macguire was bandaged up and cleared to play on.
During a lengthy stoppage, however, Bailly staggered on the touchline before being placed on a stretcher and wheeled off the Wembley touchline on a stretcher by medical staff wearing protective clothing as part of coronavirus prevention measures.
There was applause from the few people inside Wembley, where fans were locked out due to the pandemic.
Fans on social media watched on with real concern, praying that the defender would be OK.
Really hope Eric Bailly is ok, man. Head, spinal stuff is so scary. Thoughts with him.— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) July 19, 2020
You’d hope that the stretcher and brace are just for safety but the way he collapsed is legit scary. Rivalries and footie aside, I hope he’s ok— BestestBoyPatrick (@CoolGuySpace) July 19, 2020
🙏🏿🙏🏿. He’s in our thoughts and prayers.— LIBERTY (@leofrvr) July 19, 2020
Hope he is okay🙏💙— Kelly (@Kelly21462240) July 19, 2020
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed after the match that the defender was whisked off to hospital to be checked out.
"Eric is in hospital going through all the routine checks and protocols," said.
"He got a cut in the back of his head as well."
Things went from bad to worse for United on the pitch, with de Gea and Macguire copping the brunt of criticism for the loss, after a series of embarrassing blunders.
De Gea's first mistake came in the 11th minute of first-half stoppage time.
Olivier Giroud's close-range deft touch from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross should have been kept out but de Gea could only push the ball into his own goal.
United, who were rocked by Eric Bailly being hospitalised with a first-half head injury, returned to the field early for the start of the second half but were just as sloppy.
David de Gea blunders cost United
A minute into the second half, de Gea made a hash of a routine low save when he inexplicably allowed a Mason Mount long-range strike to squirm through his hands.
"David knows he should have saved the second goal but that's done now," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
"It's hard for a keeper to make amends, apart from David making two or three fantastic saves after."
It summed up United's misfortune that the third goal in the 74th came from captain Harry Maguire accidentally turning the ball past de Gea at the near post when under pressure from Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger.
With three years remaining on De Gea's contract, United have a quandary over the future of one of their highest-paid players who was once considered the world's top goalkeeper.
United earned a 19th spot kick of the season - converted by Bruno Fernandes in the 85th after Anthony Martial was fouled by Callum Hudson-Odoi - bit it could not spark a late comeback.
It means Frank Lampard's first season as Chelsea manager will end with a cup final.
It will be a harder route to a second final in August, with Chelsea trailing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16.
"We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," Lampard, who won the FA Cup four times as a Chelsea player, said.
"But we can certainly enjoy the performance and the result."