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Report: Point apiece as Brighton nab late Selhurst goal

1
Zaha 45+2'
1
Maupay 90+5'

Crystal Palace put in a solid performance from front to back against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday night, however a Wilfried Zaha penalty on his 400th appearance was undone by a 95th-minute equaliser from the visitors.

Summary

  • Patrick Vieira makes two changes: starting Odsonne Edouard and Luka Milivojevic

  • Palace begin brightly, attacking with intent while keeping their cool despite a lively atmosphere

  • Brighton enjoy a short spell on the front foot, with Danny Welbeck forcing Vicente Guaita into action one-on-one

  • The home side react well and, after having a succession of chances dealt with, go ahead through an unstoppable Wilfried Zaha penalty seconds before half-time

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

  • Brighton begin the second-half well but are soon under pressure from Palace again; Lewis Dunk forces a Guaita save but both ‘keepers are otherwise unchallenged

  • The game becomes much more even around the hour-mark as chances become less frequent

  • Christian Benteke plays a perfect ball to Jordan Ayew, who shoots narrowly wide

  • Brighton grab a 95th-minute goal to steal a point from SE25

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

The evening began as expected, with a vociferous Selhurst atmosphere pounding through supporters and the stadium alike.

It was the first time Palace had clashed with their south cost counterparts in front of a crowd since February 2020, and this played its part in drumming up a febrile buzz under the lights.

It also reflected in the game, with Vieira’s repeated pre-match instruction – one of blending the natural passion of a meeting like this with intelligent, focused decisions – clearly applied.

Palace drove at their guests and were firm in the tackle, lifted no doubt by the occasion and its soundtrack. This saw Jordan Ayew and Conor Gallagher create chances from opposite sides of the box, with the latter forcing a diving clearance from Lewis Dunk after a fizzing shot goal-bound.

But Palace also played smartly, looking to move the ball on the ground as they enjoyed swathes of possession. It was, in Vieira’s words, “[using] this kind of energy, [but] not forgetting that we need to play football.”

Brighton were kept relatively quiet until the 28th-minute, when Danny Welbeck worked his way along the left-wing and managed to force a ball across the box. It eventually found Pascal Groß, who pushed his way into the Palace box and laid it off for Leandro Trossard to strike at the side netting.

It wasn’t the sort of moment that represented a shift in the balance of play, but it signalled the start of a fleetingly threatening spell for Brighton, with Neal Maupay holding the ball up on the edge of the box and Welbeck later forcing Vicente Guaita into one-on-one action to block a snatched shot.

However Palace didn’t take long to re-establish themselves and were back in Brighton’s half within minutes, Wilfried Zaha having a cross and then shot dealt with from the left-wing.

In the first 35 minutes, the struggle for the south Londoners wasn’t their desire or ability to forge chances, but their luck in prising open a packed visiting box, with Graham Potter’s defensively adept charges flooding the space and leaving ‘keeper Robert Sánchez with only routine work to do.

When Sánchez wasn’t required, the ball either flashed through the gaps and evaded both defence and attack, or it was intercepted by one of several Brighton legs, who ensured a succession of promising openings didn’t launch Selhurst into raptures.

It didn’t last forever.

When Gallagher collected the ball on the right-wing and cut inwards, he had the Brighton backline beaten, leaving Marc Cucurella to push and Trossard to trip him in the box. The referee signalled for a penalty and, on his 400th appearance, only one man could step up next.

With the crowd chanting his name as he stood at the centre of another chapter in Palace and Brighton’s history, Wilfried Zaha was the coollest man in SE25.

And rightly so. The Ivorian powered an unstoppable effort deep into the left-hand corner as Sánchez dived the wrong way. It was a lead that would last a further 50 minutes.

No doubt rocked by conceding so close to half-time, Brighton emerged for the second-half with renewed intent; Guaita tipping a Dunk header behind and Gallagher charging down an Adam Lallana volley.

The visitors certainly seemed more energised as the second-half’s first exchanges took place, but Palace responded but putting them under pressure when in their own third and ensuring they kept the back four occupied when in possession.

Before long the game’s earlier balance was restored and Palace found themselves so high, so regularly, that Joachim Andersen briefly played a central attacking role; not with his usual probing long balls but with close passing inside Brighton’s half.

As it swung between Palace dominance and a well-matched affair, the game was unquestionably closer than it had been in the first-half, and the near-parity naturally built tension as the game wound on.

Ayew had a chance to ease the nerves tightening across Selhurst Park but struck narrowly wide of goal after Christian Benteke’s smart lay-off.

With just 10 minutes on the clock, Palace appeared to intensify their efforts: Trossard collecting a yellow card for felling Zaha on the left-wing.

Both sides made a concerted late push to ensure the spoils from this historic grudge match went their way, and as they appeared all but secured for Palace, the visitors make a cruel late break-through.

Sensing the chance to grab a dying-seconds draw, Maupay lobbed Guaita and found the net with no time left on the clock.

Palace: Guaita, Ward, Guéhi, Andersen, Mitchell, Milivojevic (Kouyate 71), McArthur, Gallagher, Ayew (Schlupp 86), Zaha, Edouard (Benteke 71).

Subs not used: Butland, Clyne, Kelly, Hughes, Olise, Mateta.

Brighton: Sánchez, Cucurella, Duffy, Burn (Alzate 45 (Moder 65)), Veltman Dunk, Maupay, Trossard, Groß, Lallana, Welbeck (Connolly 76).

Subs not used: Steele, Lamptey, Mac Allister, March, Roberts, Richards.