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Brighton and Hove Albion vs Ajax. UEFA Europa League Group B.

Amex StadiumAttendance30,540.

Brighton and Hove Albion 2

  • J Junqueira de Jesus (42nd minute)
  • A Fati (53rd minute)

Ajax 0

    Brighton 2-0 Ajax: Seagulls win first European game in their history thanks to Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati goals

    Report as Brighton win club's first European game in their history; Seagulls defeat managerless Ajax in comfortable 2-0 Europa League home win; Dutch giants sit second-bottom in Eredivisie; goals from Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati give Brighton landmark victory

    Brighton's Ansu Fati celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Europa League Group B soccer match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Ajax at the Amex stadium in Brighton, England, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
    Image: Ansu Fati celebrates scoring Brighton's second in the landmark win over Ajax

    Brighton won their first European game in the club’s history following a 2-0 Europa League home victory over beleaguered Dutch giants Ajax.

    After a loss and a draw from their opening two games, the Seagulls finally breathed life into their debut European campaign thanks to goals from Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati.

    The landmark victory over the 36-time Dutch champions, though, was an expected one with the Amsterdam side managerless and in poor form. The four-time European Cup winners have now won just two of their 12 games in all competitions this season and sit second-bottom in the Eredivisie.

    Brighton's Joao Pedro celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Europa League Group B soccer match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Ajax at the Amex stadium in Brighton, England, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
    Image: Brighton's Joao Pedro opened the scoring just before half-time

    Brighton took full advantage of Ajax's disarray as they largely controlled the game at the Amex Stadium and were rewarded for their dominance in the 42nd minute as Pedro rebounded home from Kaoru Mitoma's saved shot.

    Roberto De Zerbi's side doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half when Fati coolly slotted home from Simon Adingra's clever pass.

    Ajax had just one shot on target against Brighton, who were comfortable all evening leading ex-Seagulls striker Sam Baldock to remark on Sky Sports News: "I didn't recognise Ajax. European powerhouse? Whoever gets the manager's job has a big job on their hands. Brighton were at walking pace for most of the game."

    The win over Group B's basement side puts Brighton level on points with second-place AEK Athens, who were defeated 3-1 at Marseille, with the French side topping the table by a point.

    Also See:

    How Brighton sauntered to historic first European win

    Brighton had come into the game without a win in five games but fortunately their opponents were on an even worse run.

    Ajax, who had Hedwiges Maduro in caretaker charge following the dismissal of head coach Maurice Steijn earlier this week, were winless in eight games - and it always looked like being extended to nine from the opening whistle.

    Brighton dominated possession, although struggled to create any real early chances until Pedro broke the deadlock just before half-time.

    Lewis Dunk's incisive pass released Mitoma who drove into the box and saw his low effort pushed out by Ajax goalkeeper Diant Ramaj, but Pedro was alert to rebound into an empty net to deservingly put Brighton ahead.

    The home side then took firm control of the game early in the second half as Adingra cleverly found Fati inside the box and the Spaniard, on loan from Barcelona, took a great first touch before finishing low past Ramaj into the far corner.

    The 20-year-old nearly had a second three minutes after but drove an effort wide of the post, while Ajax hit the woodwork moments later in their only chance of the match as Steven Berghuis cut inside to hit a low shot against the base of the post.

    Brighton then eased to the victory to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Europa League knockout stages.

    De Zerbi 'proud' to have made 'unbelievable' history for Brighton

    Roberto De Zerbi has secured European qualification
    Image: Roberto De Zerbi has led Brighton to their first-ever European win

    Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi speaking in his post-match press conference:

    "The focus today has been the first win in European competition for Brighton, for our fans, for our club, for our owner and for ourselves.

    "We didn't deserve to lose against AEK (Athens), and today we wanted 150 per cent the victory.

    "We played a great game with high quality. We could score more goals, but the most important thing is we didn't concede and we closed the game with a clean sheet.

    "For us in this moment, it's important to change the mood, to start winning games, to start to play better because we (have not been) playing like last season.

    "The level of difficulty is more or less the same (between the Premier League and Europa League), but it's tougher this season because after 48, 72 hours we have another important game against Fulham.

    "This is the challenge that is most difficult for us. We have to accept the honour, because we made history for our club.

    "It's unbelievable and it's proud for us to be part of this history, but in the same way we have to fight and to adapt, be ready to fight and enjoy and make happy our fans. Playing in Europe for Brighton is a big, big thing."

    What's next?

    Brighton return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host Fulham - kick-off 2pm.

    The Seagulls then travel to Everton on Saturday November 4 - kick-off 3pm.

    Ajax's next game is in the league away to rivals and Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven on Sunday - kick-off 1.30pm.

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