Danny Welbeck scored a lovely goal as Brighton all-but secured their Premier League survival with a 2-0 victory over Leeds at the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Seagulls needed a victory to end all lingering doubts surrounding their top-flight status and the hosts took the lead in the 14th-minute through Pascal Gross' penalty, after Welbeck was pulled down in the box by Ezgjan Alioski.
A lack of conviction in front of goal has been Brighton's problem all season and Graham Potter must have been ready to tear his hair out when Leandro Trossard somehow missed the target when presented with a glorious chance on the stroke of half-time.
Missing Kalvin Phillips through injury, Leeds' defence was carved open time after time in the second half, but it was the same old story for Brighton as Joel Veltman and Neal Maupay passed up gilt-edged opportunities, before Welbeck finally made sure of the points in the 79th-minute with a cool finish following a beautiful piece of skill.
Stuart Dallas came the closest for a below par Leeds, who simply couldn't cope with an excellent Brighton on the day.
Victory pushes Brighton up to 14th in the table and they are now 10 points clear of the drop, while Leeds remain ninth.
Pascal Gross of Brighton and Hove Albion celebrates after scoring their side's first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United at American Express Community Stadium on May 01, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Brighton secure their safety
After somehow being dragged into a relegation scrap, Brighton have finally secured their top-flight status and move into a position much more reflective of their performances this season.
Graham Potter's side have played some great football but too often their profligacy has cost them points. Saturday threatened to be another one of those days as they missed a number of chances, but unlike on other occasions they found that killer second goal.
They took full advantage of what was probably Leeds' worst performance of the season. Any slim hopes Marcelo Bielsa had of clinching a European spot are effectively over.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lewis Dunk (Brighton)
Brighton were excellent defensively and at the heart of it was Dunk. The 29-year-old was everywhere and his aerial ability and positional awareness ensured Patrick Bamford hardly got a touch.
13' - Penalty to Brighton! Alioski grabs a hold of Welbeck's leg and the Brighton forward goes down inside the box... the referee points to the spot.
14' - GOAL! Brighton 1-0 Leeds (Pascal Gross, pen): A fantastic penalty from Gross, who tucks his penalty into the bottom corner, leaving Meslier with no chance. Brighton are ahead and are on course for what would be a crucial victory. A long, long way to go, though...
40' - How does he miss?! Leeds make a complete mess of trying to play out from the back as Welbeck steals it from Llorente, pokes it into the path of Trossard, who, from point-blank range, shoots wide!
47' - Big chance! Brighton spurn another one! Burn wriggles free down the left and centres it for Veltman, who, from 12 yards out, inexplicably blasts over the bar.
67'- Another Brighton chance! Oh my, they really don't have their shooting boots on today. Veltman sets Maupay up on a plate but he scuffs the shot wide. Woeful.
79' - GOAL! Brighton 2-0 Leeds (Danny Welbeck): A lovely goal finally secures the points for the hosts! Leeds make a total mess in their attempts to clear the ball, it drops to Welbeck who takes a beautiful touch to get the ball out his feet before sliding the ball past Meslier. Game over, surely.
Brighton have now won eight of their last nine league games against Leeds, with the exception being a 2-0 loss at Elland Road in March 2017.
Leeds have lost their last five away league games against Brighton by an aggregate score of 11-0 - no other club can boast such a record.