Brighton and Hove Albion
Neal Maupay scored another sensational late goal as Albion drew 1-1 with Southampton.
Once again, as they did in West Ham on Wednesday, Graham Potter’s men displayed extraordinary courage and strength of character. Already without six players they lost Leo Trossard who was on a stretcher with what looked like a serious arm injury at the end of the second half.
This meant that for the second game in a row they had to end the game with ten men, but nine minutes after the ten added, Maupay pivoted to score his sixth goal of the season after Southampton failed to clear a free kick. . It might not have been as spectacular as his goal against the Hammers, but it meant just as much to his teammates and, of course, 3,000 Albion fans at St Mary’s.
They were a very different Albion side than the one that drew at West Ham with five changes. Injuries ruled out Adam Webster, Adam Lallana, Jeremy Sarmiento and Dunk (knee) while Jakub Moder fell on the bench. Shane Duffy took over as captain and there were also callbacks for Enock Mwepu, Pascal Gross, Dan Burn and Tariq Lamptey. Aaron Connolly has been named as a substitute.
Sanchez made three saves with his legs in the first six minutes as the hosts got off to a quick start. He denied Broja and then Che Adams of the follow-up before thwarting Broja again after he perfectly turned in the box.
Albion responded and Mwepu came closer in the seventh minute when he grabbed Leo Trossard’s ball from the left and turned to strike towards goal, but the ball hit a defender.
Opportunities continued to present themselves on both sides. Duffy made two vital interventions, blocking Valentino Livramento’s shot and then rising to prevent Nathan Tella from converting the free ball.
Livramento then shot from an excellent 12-yard position before McCarthy was called up twice. In the 17e minute, he pushed the ball to safety after Mwepu met Neal Maupay’s cross with a drive from inside D. Eight minutes later he made another good save, this time to stop Trossard by a half. fly after a good job from Lamptey.
A goal was coming, it was only a question of to what end, but when the deadlock was broken in the 28th minute it was bad from Albion’s point of view. Sanchez’s clearance was directed to his goal by James Ward Prowse and assisted by Nathan Redmond. Duffy expected Sanchez to come and claim him but that split second hesitation was everything Broja needed to pinch, round Duffy and calmly beat Sanchez with the outside of his right foot.
For the rest of the game it was a deserved advantage for Southampton but Albion was very present and just before the break after a good shot Veltman warmed McCarthy’s hands with a right footed shot from the edge of the box. Duffy, meanwhile, has been sentenced for knocking Broja down and his fifth warning means a suspension against Spurs next Sunday.
Broja should have celebrated again four minutes after the break. The Saints fell to the right thanks to Redmond and Livramento, who passed Burn to strike Broja from eight yards, but he dragged his shot aside.
Albion had done well so far to restrict Ward Prowse’s opportunities on set pieces, but the Southampton captain swung a free kick just outside the box on the roof of Sanchez’s net as his team was looking for the second goal that could settle the result.
Aaron Connolly replaced Gross and Albion moved up to 4-4-2 with the Irishman alongside Maupay, who was not far away with a corner shot that went over a yard as Albion first threatened in second period.
Albion made another offensive change when March replaced Lamptey, but with both teams playing their third game in a week, it was inevitable that fatigue was a factor in the finals and the game became increasingly tense. Joel Veltman received a blow to the nose from Nathan Tella, and was replaced moments later by Jakub Moder.
Albion hadn’t really created a clear opportunity in the second half. The Saints didn’t carry the same threat either and with 15 minutes to go it seemed to be a question of whether Albion could equalize or if Southampton would hold up. The equalizer should have come in the 77th minute when March and Connolly combined to give Maupay a shot at seven yards, but McCarthy made an instinctive save with his right foot.
Trossard’s injury meant ten minutes of downtime and Albion continued to abstain. Duffy almost got a decisive throw-in when Moder landed a free kick from the left and it looked like their chance to save a point was gone.
But in the ninth minute of added time, Moder’s free kick just outside the D hit the defensive wall. Mars helped him get back to the danger zone and Maupay, played sideways by a defender, turned to beat McCarthy and send off the Blue and White barmy hordes. What a finish and what a display of character by Albion.
Albion: Sanchez, Lamptey (March 64), Veltman (Moder 76), Duffy, Burn, Cucurella, Gross (Connolly 55), Mwepu, Bissouma, Trossard, Maupay.
Unused subscribers: Scherpen, Steele, Mac Allister, Locadia, Roberts, Richards.
Arbitrator: Anthony Taylor