Brighton produced one of the best Premier League performances of the season to sweep aside Crystal Palace despite playing for 62 minutes with only 10 men.
Moments after the Seagulls went 1-0 up through Glenn Murray’s spot-kick, defender Shane Duffy was sent off for thrusting his head at Patrick van Aanholt after referee Kevin Friend had turned down a second penalty appeal.
Playmaker Pascal Gross was immediately replaced by the more defensive-minded Leon Balogun, and the substitute’s first touch was a stunning strike to double the home side’s lead.
The best was yet to come for the hosts, as Florin Andone ran 40 yards down the left to fire in the third goal in first-half stoppage time. The Romanian forward had only been on the pitch for 14 minutes, having replaced the injured Murray.
Home goalkeeper Mat Ryan had little to do until the 81st minute, when he was beaten by Luka Milivojevic’s penalty.
Chris Hughton’s side managed to subdue Palace’s attack in the remaining minutes to record a memorable win.
Seagulls defy odds after losing Duffy
Brighton fans will remember this M23 derby for a very long time.
In teeming rain at Amex Stadium they witnessed their side reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute, score three times, and comfortably keep their arch-rivals at bay.
After an underwhelming start, the Seagulls were awarded a penalty when James McArthur brought down Jose Izquierdo. Murray fired the resulting spot-kick in off the bar for his sixth goal in seven home league games this season.
The veteran striker’s evening was over a few minutes later, when he injured a shoulder in a challenge with James Tomkins in the Palace area. Friend turned down the subsequent penalty appeals, after which Duffy was sent off for clashing with Van Aanholt.
The gloom among the home support turned to cheers seconds later when Balogun volleyed in with his first touch. That finish was excellent, but Andone’s effort just before the break was stunning.
The Romanian, a summer signing who scored in the win over Huddersfield last weekend, collected a long punt on the left-hand side and raced Tomkins to the area. The Palace defender managed to nudge the ball, but only back into the path of Andone, who fired an angled shot past Wayne Hennessey.
Despite losing one of their key defensive marshals in Duffy, Brighton’s rearguard were rarely troubled by a Palace attack that lacked ideas.
Palace waste golden opportunity
Eagles manager Roy Hodgson must be wondering how his side only managed to breach the last line of defence once with their numerical advantage.
Prior to the penalty, the closest they came to a goal was when Bernardo cleared Milivojevic’s shot off the line. The Serb did have more luck from the spot with nine minutes remaining, after Balogun had mistimed his tackle on Wilfried Zaha.
That was Zaha’s biggest contribution to a match prior to which he had a tense encounter with a Brighton fan.