Substitute Alexis Mac Allister scored a late winner as Brighton began the new Premier League season with a comeback victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Argentine Mac Allister met Pascal Gross’ cross just two minutes after being introduced by manager Graham Potter as the Seagulls completed a five-minute turnaround.
In a meeting between the sides who finished immediately above last season’s relegation places, Neal Maupay had cancelled out James Tarkowski’s controversial second-minute header as he slid in to meet Jakub Moder’s cross.
It appeared as though Tarkowski’s early goal from Ashley Westwood’s corner would be ruled out after the Burnley defender pushed Maupay to the ground in the build-up, but a video assistant referee review went in the hosts’ favour despite Brighton protests.
Sean Dyche’s side went close to a second before half-time as Johann Gudmundsson struck the post with a fine, low effort from the edge of the penalty area and Ben Mee headed on to the crossbar from another set-piece.
Dwight McNeil cleared Shane Duffy’s effort off the line as a much-improved Brighton threatened after the restart, but Burnley was ultimately made to pay for their earlier misses as they equalled their club record of 11 league matches without a home win.
Brighton managed just nine victories last term when a lack of cutting edge in front of goal had threatened to pull them into the relegation places.
Based on their expected goals in 2020-21, Brighton’s 41 points should have been 67 – the biggest points disparity in Europe’s top five divisions.
It is an area that must be improved if the former Swansea boss is to demonstrate meaningful progress up the table in his third season in charge, and he will be hoping the second-half showing at Turf Moor is a sign of things to come.
Potter’s substitutions swung the game as Brighton’s dominance on the ball was eventually converted into goals, Moder recording an assist for Maupay with his first involvement and Mac Allister delivering the decisive blow.
Burnley had several good opportunities to improve their position before the interval, but Jay Rodriguez was denied by Seagulls keeper Robert Sanchez at close quarters, with Gudmundsson and Mee striking the woodwork on either side of that chance.
The Clarets failed to manage a shot on target in the second half, compared to six for Brighton, and crucially the Seagulls made their period of dominance count.
Burnley chairman Alan Pace said this week he had “no doubt” manager Dyche would agree on a new long-term contract after steering the club 11 points clear of the bottom three last term – despite their 17th-place finish.
A sixth successive Premier League season is a remarkable achievement given the resources at Dyche’s disposal, and he will be keen to see an immediate response to this disappointing opening result.
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Jamie Vardy picked up where he left off at the end of last season as his superb header for Leicester City meant Bruno Lage’s Wolves tenure began with a defeat.
The Foxes’ number nine was the most lively player on the pitch and struck just before half-time courtesy of a timely run and clinical angled header from Ricardo Pereira’s right-wing cross. learn more