English Premier League

Brighton 3 – 1 Bournemouth

Brighton 3 – 1 Bournemouth. Substitute Kaoru Mitoma’s second-half double helped Brighton come from behind to beat winless Bournemouth.

The Japan midfielder scored 16 seconds after coming on, then headed in later to clinch a third straight Premier League win.

Bournemouth had gone ahead when Dominic Solanke capitalised on an error by Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

The hosts looked sluggish until Milos Kerkez’s own goal drew them level in first-half injury time.

Brighton showed nine changes from the side that started the 3-2 defeat by AEK Athens in the Europa League on Thursday.

But manager Roberto De Zerbi’s substitutions, which saw Mitoma and Ansu Fati come on after half-time, made the required impact to propel Brighton up to third place.

The latest win for the Seagulls comes six days after the first anniversary of De Zerbi succeeding Graham Potter and confirms their continuing impressive progress.

Bournemouth are still seeking a first league victory under Andoni Iraola and have now gone 10 Premier League games without winning, their worst run in the top flight.

This was Brighton’s first foray into the Thursday-Sunday fixture set-up that often proves tricky to negotiate for sides playing in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.

Albion had given a good account of themselves, despite losing to AEK, but at least their European debut had been at home and meant there was no gruelling journey to eat into preparation time for playing in the Premier League.

That should have been helpful for the visit of Bournemouth, but De Zerbi’s side were poor for much of the first half, looking strangely negative and reluctant to get at their struggling opponents.

Verbruggen, brought back to replace Jason Steele in goal for his third league start, was keen to play out from the back but he was caught out when dawdling in the D of the penalty area, Ryan Christie sliding the ball across to give Solanke a simple chance to score.

But when Mahmoud Dahoud’s cross was headed into his own net by Kerkez in first-half stoppage time, Brighton had a barely deserved lifeline that they grabbed with enthusiasm.

Fati and Mitoma linked up on the left just a few seconds after Bournemouth had kicked off the second half, giving the latter the chance to slide the ball across Cherries goalkeeper Neto.

Mitoma later headed Pervis Estupinan’s cross beyond Neto to seemingly seal the win, but Brighton remained vulnerable at times and had to rely on saves by Verbruggen and a superb block by Estupinan in the closing minutes.

Nevertheless, moving up into third place in the table was the ideal way to shake off the disappointment of the loss to AEK, with a trip to Aston Villa on 30 September their next league outing.

Bournemouth’s inability to hang on to a lead reared its head for the third time this season, and this is something Iraola needs to address if they are to avoid a relegation struggle.

They had an early lead at Liverpool, were 2-1 ahead at Brentford until a stoppage-time equaliser, and together with this defeat it means that eight vital points have slipped from their grasp.

After frustrating their hosts, a galling mistake by Kerkez allowed Brighton back into the game, but some of Iraola’s own substitutions gave Bournemouth hope and may offer pointers as to where they can find their first win.

Antoine Semenyo was a threat when cutting in from the left, and had fellow substitute David Brooks’ fierce shot not been bravely blocked by Estupinan with six minutes of the 90 left, they may have gone on to salvage a point.

But the visit of Arsenal next Saturday and then a trip to Everton a week later are daunting prospects for Iraola’s side, who have just three points from six games so far.

source – BBC

Back to top button