Everton defender Lucas Digne’s suspension for the red card he received during Sunday's Premier League defeat to Southampton has been reduced by two matches.
The French left-back would normally be hit with a three-match suspension for a straight red but the ban has been downgraded to one match after an independent regulatory commission upheld a claim of clearly excessive punishment.
Digne was dismissed in the 72nd minute for serious foul play by referee Kevin Friend after a challenge on Saints full-back Kyle Walker-Peters 72 minutes into Everton’s game at St Mary’s Stadium.
The commission has withdrawn Digne’s original three-game ban and applied a one-match suspension instead.
The decision means Digne will miss Sunday’s Premier League match at Newcastle United but will be available for selection when Everton host Manchester United at Goodison Park on Saturday 7 November.
The news will please Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti who criticised the referee's decision after the game while vowing to appeal the red card.
"It was a joke - it was not intentional. It was not violent conduct so they could've checked better," Ancelotti said in his post-match interview on television.
"Maybe all the rumours during the week against [Jordan] Pickford and against Richarlison affected the decision, and if it is like this, it's not right. It's not fair."
Interestingly, Dermot Gallagher took a different point of view in his regular slot on Sky Sports News.
The former Premier League referee felt that while there was no intent, the match official did make the right decision.
“I think you’ve got to give a red card for that", Gallagher said.
"I’ve spoken to a lot of people who think otherwise but when you put your studs down somebody’s Achilles you are always going to be sent off for serious foul play.
“I fully accept he didn’t mean to do it and he didn’t mean to be malicious. I just think it’s inevitable he’s going to be sent off for that.”