An Everton steward has been showered with praise for his quick thinking in rescuing a Toffees ball boy as violent scenes erupted among Hajduk Split fans.
An Everton steward has been showered with praise for his quick thinking in rescuing a Toffees ball boy as violent scenes erupted among Hajduk Split fans on Thursday.
The Blues and their opponents were in the midst of an eventual 2-0 victory for the hosts in their Europa League play-off first leg tie when the Croatian teams' fanbase lost control - throwing bottles and ripping up seats as they try to force their way into the Park End of Goodison Park.
Footage recorded by the Daily Mirror's Jamie Ferguson, and uploaded to his Twitter account, shows the dramatic moment that one steward hauls an Everton ball boy to safety as Hajduk's angry away following attempted to invade the pitch in a bid to induce a fight with the home faithful.
Several fans took to social media to laud the split-second decision making of the official - who is seen in the bottom right corner hauling the young lad to safety - as police stepped in to arrest members of the baying mob.
The incident occured around the 33rd minute mark with Everton leading 1-0 through Michael Keane's maiden goal for his new club, and referee Ivan Kruzliak was forced to halt play for over five minutes.
Both sets of players were called back to the far side of the pitch by the dugouts and the authorities waded in to placate the Hajduk supporters to prevent any further disruption during the contest.
Idrissa Gana Gueye went on to add a second on the stroke of half-time to hand Everton the initiative, ahead of the return leg at the Stadion Poljud next Thursday, after play was resumed.
Speaking after the match, Blues boss Ronald Koeman condemned the terrible scenes that played out in the Bullens Road end of Everton's Grand Old Lady.
He lamented (via ESPN): "I was disappointed. I like to have it really fair, that you can play football, and we needed to stop. I don't know what happened, it was in the corner.''
Hajduk manager Joan Carrillo, however, refused to comment on the incident despite watching on as the violence unfolded.
He said: "Sorry, but I was concentrating on the game and saw nothing. I don't want to talk about this. I am the coach and I want to talk about the game and my players. These things are not my job.''