What started out as a sickening incident turned into a beautiful one, after Jack Grealish was first attacked by a fan during a game, then responded by scoring a beautiful game-winning goal.
In the first half of a rivalry game between Aston Villa and Birmingham in the English Championship (the level just below the Premier League), Villa’s Grealish was sucker punched by a Birmingham fan who ran onto the field and snuck up behind him.
Grealish’s teammates, Birmingham City players and security quickly surrounded the fan, who was escorted off the field and arrested. Grealish admirably kept calm after the incident, and received love from members of both teams for having to endure what he did.
Here was the attack:
Grealish then got his revenge in the second half, when he scored a left-footed goal to give Villa a 1-0 lead away from home.
Villa would hold on to the lead and win the game, 1-0.
After the game, Birmingham City issued a statement:
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The Club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The Club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this – there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”