Report and free match highlights as Leandro Trossard's lob sees Brighton ahead; Neal Maupay doubled the Seagulls' lead with his first goal against his former side; Brentford saw second-half chances, but were unable to convert; Brighton end their 11-match winless run in the Premier League
Monday 27 December 2021 06:33, UK
Brighton ended their run of 11 Premier League games without a win as goals from Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay saw them beat Brentford 2-0 on Boxing Day.
Graham Potter's side had drawn eight and lost three of their previous league outings, only winning once more since their late 1-0 victory at the Brentford Community Stadium in September.
There was little to separate the sides until the 34th minute, when a hopeful lob from Trossard looped over goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez and into the back of an open net. Soon after, Maupay (42) scored his first goal against Brentford since his departure in the summer of 2019, curling a superb strike into the top corner.
Brentford should have found the net in an improved second half. Robert Sanchez made two sensational stops in quick succession. Marc Cucurella then nodded an Ethan Pinnock header off the line as Brighton held on for their first Premier League win in over three months.
The victory sees Brighton into the top half of the table, going ninth on 23 points, and bumping Brentford down into 13th - where Albion had been at the start of the game.
Both sides found early openings on a chilly Boxing Day evening. Bryan Mbeumo drove into the area, sending a chip around the on-coming Sanchez. It looked destined for the far corner, but Dan Burn was there to hack the ball away. At the other end, Trossard found Maupay with a squared pass off the right, but the striker's backheeled attempt was weak and easily collected by Alvaro Fernandez.
Burn could have nodded Brighton ahead in the 17th minute as he headed Alexis Mac Allister's corner goalwards. However, it hit the top of the crossbar with Fernandez reaching, before going wide.
Brighton: Sanchez (7), Lamptey (7), Webster (7), Burn (8), Cucurella (7), Mwepu (7), Lallana (7), Moder (7), Mac Allister (7), Trossard (7), Maupay (7).
Subs used: Welbeck (6), Gross (n/a), Alzate (n/a).
Brentford: Fernandez (6), Pinnock (7), Jansson (6), Sorensen (6), Thompson (6), Canos (6), Jensen (7), Norgaard (7), Baptiste (7), Mbuemo (6), Toney (7).
Subs used: Wissa (6), Onyeka (6), Ghoddos (5).
Man of the match: Dan Burn.
But Brighton did make the breakthrough in the 34th minute, with Trossard scoring his second Premier League goal of the season against Brentford. It was a superb forward pass from Enock Mwepu that picked Trossard out at the top of the area. Fernandez was out to meet the forward and he took advantage, using his first touch to flick the ball past the goalkeeper and rolling into an open net.
The goal galvanised Brighton and they made it two not long after. It was another superb strike too, with Jakub Moder cutting in from the left before finding Maupay at the top of the area. The forward hit it first time with some real power, curling it into the top corner for his first goal against his former club.
Much like the start of the first half, the start of the second was a rather quiet affair. However, Sanchez was soon called into action. The first saw him send Shandon Baptiste's deflected strike over the crossbar with an outstretched leg. Sanchez then got down low to push away Pinnock's header from the corner, but Ivan Toney sent the rebound wide.
Brentford continued to probe as the half continued, and Brighton needed a last-ditch clearance from Cucurella to keep their lead intact. Pinnock's looping header flew over the head of a leaping Burn, before the Brighton left-back came in behind to nod the ball off the line.
Both sides continued to see chances fall their way. Baptiste lost his balance and sent an effort straight at Sanchez, before Steven Alzate forced a leaping save from Fernandez with a curling effort. As three added minutes were shown, Yoane Wissa arrowed an effort wide of the target as Brighton saw out their victory.
It was a good defensive performance from Burn. He hit the post in the first half and should arguably have scored. He also topped the charts for Brighton in terms of clearances (6), with a vital one early on as Mbeumo looked to fire Brentford ahead, as the Seagulls registered a clean sheet.
Brighton manager Graham Potter: "I thought we were really good. Out of possession and defending, I thought we want the ball back often and created some opportunities from there. It's nice to score two goals, nice to keep a clean sheet.
"We needed out goalkeeper in the second half because as you'd imagine, Brentford would respond. Not as good in the second half but good enough to win and sometimes, talk all you want about performance, but sometimes the result is important. Today felt like a result was important for us.
"They were fantastic, really nice goals. I was right behind Leo so I saw it all the way and Neal's was a fantastic strike… It was a difficult game, but for us, delighted with the three points.
"We've been fighting for goals. It's pleasing for Neal, that is seven I think for the season so he is contributing so that's really positive. The second goal was important, we would like to have got the third but it wasn't to be.
"Then we have to survive and dig in as a team, which is also important to keep that clean sheet.
"I can't say we didn't have a bit of luck, you need that in the Premier League. But overall, I'm delighted with the boys and the crowd, it took a lot of effort to get here tonight and they were brilliant. We're delighted with the three points."
Brentford manager Thomas Frank: "I thought Brighton were better than us in the first half and we were better than them in the second half. Unfortunately, they took their chances in our bad spell.
"In the first half, we were very abd on the bad. We kept throwing the ball away, we were not sharp on touches, decision making and passes. We had the ball, kicked it away and 15 seconds later, it was in the back of the net. We need to do better defensively in those situations.
"We were still in the bad spell, giving the ball away too easily and I have to admit the second goal was a great goal by Neal.
"Second half was better. We had more presence, better on the ball, chances that could have made the game more interesting, but in the end we didn't have the cutting edge.
"I knew we couldn't play that badly again [in the second half] and we didn't. A lot of effort, a lot of will, but that lack of that cutting edge. But again, two or three chances where it could potentially have given us a second wind and gone again, but on the day, we couldn't.
"In general, we did not do enough to have a chance to win. It was clear he [Ivan Toney] was not at his best today, but a lot of players were not at their best today."
Brighton striker Neal Maupay to Sky Sports: "It's such a big win for us, we haven't won in a long, long time. It was a good performance from the team, we're really happy to get that win finally.
"We've played well recently but football in the Premier League is tough. We pushed a lot, never gave up, so we deserve it.
"It's always nice, it's not any nicer because it's my former club. I didn't want to celebrate, they are the club that gave me my chance four years ago. No one wanted to sign me in France but they told me to come to England.
"I respect them so much, everything they have done for me and a lot of other players. They deserve to be where they are now. Brentford are a great club."
Brighton and Brentford both play again on Wednesday. Brighton travel to Chelsea in the Premier League; kick-off 7.30pm. Brentford welcome Manchester City to the Brentford Community Stadium; kick-off 8pm.