Jordan Ayew scored the only goal of the game as Crystal Palace took a huge stride towards Premier League survival – and increased Brighton’s plight.
Brighton dominated long periods of the game and recorded their most number of shots on goal in any game this season, but simply could not finish any of them. Solly March and Neal Maupay missed the biggest chances, much to the frustration of the home supporters.
Palace were measured in their approach and kept their cool to strike when the chance came. That opportunity fell to Jordan Ayew after he was played in by Christian Benteke, and Ayew squeezed the ball home.
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Wilfried Zaha, the villain at the AMEX following his clash with Brighton substitute Ezequiel Scheletto in the first half, missed an open goal in stoppage time but it proved immaterial to the result, as Palace move on to 36 points and to within touching distance of another season in the Premier League.
Things are very different for Brighton, who have still not won in 2020 and sit just a few points clear of the bottom three with a daunting run-in ahead.
Do Brighton have enough to stay up? This defeat will hurt for Brighton. They not only lost to their local-ish rivals, but dominated long periods of the game without scoring. They seem to be painfully short on confidence and their lack of goals is a big worry. Top scorer Neal Maupay has just one goal in his last 10 league games, and the fact that ‘Own Goal’ is their second top scorer says it all. Brighton need goals, but it’s hard to see where they’re going to come from.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace): A towering performance at the back by Palace’s goalkeeper, who made a number of crucial stops before and after Ayew’s winner. The Spaniard has proved a revelation since establishing himself as Palace’s number one, and this was another fine display.
Brighton: Ryan 6, Montoya 7, Webster 8, Dunk 7, Burn 7, Propper 8, Bissouma 7, Mooy 7, Trossard 6, March 6, Maupay 7. Subs: Murray 6, Jahanbakhsh 6, Alzate 6.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 8, Ward 7, Dann 7, Cahill 7, Van Aanholt 8, McCarthy 7, McArthur 7, Kouyate 7, Zaha 6, Ayew 7, Benteke 8. Subs: Riedewald 6, Tosun 6.
28’ CLASH! Zaha spits in the direction of Brighton substitute Schelotto. Zaha then holds his hands to his ears in front of the Brighton fans, and Schelotto kicks the ball in Zaha's direction. Schelotto gets a yellow. Zaha, however, escapes without a card when he should have seen yellow as well.
36’ BIG MISS! March misses a sitter for Brighton! A quick counter-attack by Brighton as Maupay releases Trossard, who puts it on a plate for March with a precise ball with the outside of his foot, but March puts it into the side-netting. Had to score.
49’BRIGHTON MISS! Brighton should be ahead as Dunk's header from a corner is going on but Maupay, his teammate on the line, gets in the way of the ball and stops it from going in!
55’ CHANCE MAUPAY! Mooy gets it through to Maupay, who leathers it at goal but it's straight at Guaita. Either side of the keeper and that's a goal. Another big chance wasted.
70’ GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Palace (Ayew). Palace lead and it's a sucker punch for Brighton. Benteke slots a lovely reverse pass to Ayew, who squeezes it past Ryan, who got something on it but not enough.
90’+3OPEN GOAL! Zaha has missed an open goal. Tosun leads the counter-attack and rolls it to Zaha, who hits the post with goal open. The home fans at least have something to cheer about.
- This was Crystal Palace's first ever top-flight away win at Brighton.
- Roy Hodgson was celebrating his 100th Premier League game in charge of Crystal Palace.
- Jordan Ayew has equalled his record of seven Premier League goals in a single season.
- Crystal Palace are the first team to ever win a Premier League game on February 29th.
- Brighton recorded their most shots in a game this season.
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