A 94th-minute own goal from Lucas Digne gifted Brighton a 3-2 victory against Everton on Saturday in a dramatic Premier League encounter.
The Everton captain sent Leandro Trossard's cross into his own net after Neal Maupay (80) had made it 2-2 from the penalty spot not long before following a controversial VAR review.
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Brighton had initially gone ahead inside 15 minutes thanks to a wonderful Pascal Gross free-kick before an Adam Webster own goal (20) levelled thing up for Everton. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (73) then put the visitors ahead two minutes after coming on as a substitute, but they could not hold on for vital away points.
Just one point and one place separated the sides ahead of the game, but Brighton now move into 12th with 12 points. Everton remain in 16th with 10 points.
How Brighton snatched a vital victory
Although Everton started the better, it was Brighton who took the lead inside 15 minutes with a sensational free-kick from Gross. It was a clumsy Andre Gomes challenge on Aaron Connolly that gave the hosts the set-piece, which Gross curled beautifully into the far corner. Jordan Pickford got his fingertips onto it but the effort had too much power for him to keep out.
Five minutes later though and Everton were back level. It came from a Digne corner, with Richarlison allowed to sweep into the six-yard box unmarked. He nodded the ball goalwards but it took a nick off Webster on the way through, giving him the unfortunate own-goal plaudits.
Brighton: Ryan (7), Montoya (6), Webster (5), Dunk (7), Burn (6), Gross (7), Propper (7), Stephens (6), Alzate (7), Connolly (7), Maupay (8).
Subs used: Trossard (6), Schelotto (5), Murray (n/a).
Everton: Pickford (6), Sidibe (7), Keane (7), Holgate (6), Digne (6), Gomes (6), Davies (6), Walcott (7), Iwobi (7), Bernard (n/a), Richarlison (6).
Subs used: Sigurdsson (6), Calvert-Lewin (6), Delph (6).
Man of the match: Neal Maupay.
It was the visitors who should have added a second before the end of the half. The pick of their efforts came in the 38th minute as Richarlison made a nice diagonal run into the area, before playing the ball back for Theo Walcott. His strike was blocked by the body of Lewis Dunk, but Alex Iwobi kept the ball alive on the left. His own effort was once again diverted goalwards by Webster, but his goalkeeper Mat Ryan was there this time to collect.
Both teams had a few half chances to take the lead early in the second period, and Brighton did have the ball in the net in the 64th minute. Gross scored again, this time poking home Davy Propper's cross, but from his lack of celebration, he already knew he was offside. VAR came in to take a look and confirmed the goal would be ruled out.
- Aaron Mooy was suspended for Brighton with Steven Alzate replacing him in the XI in one change.
- Everton also made one change, with the injured Yerry Mina replaced by Mason Holgate for his first Premier League start of the season.
Marco Silva rolled the dice with his final two substitutions in the 72nd minute, bringing on Calvert-Lewin along with Fabian Delph, and it took the striker just two minutes to find the net. It was a lovely, flowing goal as Mason Holgate slipped the ball through the middle and Calvert-Lewin confidently slotted home into the far corner.
But the real controversy was yet to come as Brighton were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute. Michael Keane marked Connolly inside the area, with the forward going down clutching his ankle after an aerial challenge, which initially looked to be an awkward landing.
With no penalty initially awarded, VAR stepped in to review the decision and the replays showed Keane just caught the back of Connolly's ankle, and Stockley Park gave Brighton the spot kick. The Everton players were furious in what was a slight call, surrounding referee Andy Madley to plead their case as Maupay lined the spot kick up, before dispatching past Pickford.
The fourth official signalled six minutes of additional time and after equalising not long before, Brighton were on the hunt for a winner - and they got it through unconventional means. In the 94th minute, Trossard whipped an inviting ball through the area that was lashed home by the oustretched foot of Digne, gifting the hosts a vital victory.
Brighton manager Graham Potter: "It was incredible, a great experience. We weren't at our best today, we've played better than that but I'm delighted for the three points, they're not so easy to come by in this league so we're ecstatic. The togetherness and spirit was amazing.
"I think we'll see a lot of it over the season [controversial VAR calls]. I thought Everton did well in the game, they pressed well, they were compact, hard to play through and made it difficult for us and you can see their quality. We had to dig deep and then you just need a moment, that's how the league is, to excite the crowd and change the atmosphere in the game and we managed to do that.
"We've been on the end of a VAR decision that hasn't gone our way and I'm sure it won't be the last time we'll get something but that's just how it's going to be."
Everton manager Marco Silva: "We did well until 75 or 80 minutes and we were in the game and then came one decision. VAR has to be the same for both sides. I'm 100 per cent sure that if they always do the same, we'd see 20 penalties each week in the Premier League.
"If they see that penalty, they have to see the one on Richarlison [pulled down by Martin Montoya in the 55th minute] because it is a clear penalty. We have to accept the decision of the referee and respect it but if you ask me about the moments, I have to talk about them.
"Our players made a big effort, we changed the game, changed the score and drew the first half. The game was tough for both teams, tactically in moments as well, but they were thinking to win the game and we did the same."
Analysis: Could Silva be undone by luck?
Sky Sports' Charlotte Marsh at the Amex Stadium
"Time is not on Marco Silva's side. Ten Premier League games in, he has won just three times and lost the remaining seven, with Everton's late defeat to Brighton typifying the kind of season he is having.
"Brighton's 78th-minute penalty, awarded by VAR after referee Andy Madley failed to spot Keane's foul, was a harsh decision. The defender trod on Connolly's ankle but with little force and although it clearly hurt the Brighton forward, there have been penalties not given for similar incidents.
"Silva was adamant in his post-match press conference - in which he avoided questions about his future - that Everton should have been awarded a 55th minute penalty for Montoya's pull down of Richarlison and he does have a point - but, vitally, VAR did not agree.
"The frustrating thing for Silva and Everton fans alike is that the team played well for 78 minutes. They passed it well, looked dangerous going forward and showed determination to battle back from an early goal to lead.
"They should have taken a point, if not all three, but their late run of bad luck was rounded off all too well with Digne's 94th-minute own goal, achingly demonstrating the type of luck that could see Silva depart Goodison Park before we reach Christmas."
Man of the match - Neal Maupay
It was a decent performance from the Brighton forward in some testing conditions at the Amex. He dispatched his penalty well in the middle of a furious atmosphere and he had the joint-highest number of shots out of his team-mates (3), along with Steven Alzate.
He made two key passes - the highest of the Brighton team - and was involved in 11 duels, showing off his defensive skills as Everton dominated as well as his prowess at the business end.
- Everton have failed to win any of the 24 Premier League games in which they've fallen behind under Marco Silva (W0 D4 L20).
- The home side has never lost a Premier League meeting between Brighton and Everton (W4 D1), with Brighton winning twice and drawing once at the Amex.
- Lucas Digne's own-goal was Brighton's first ever 90th minute winning goal in Premier League history.
Brighton are back in action next Saturday when they host Norwich in the Premier League. Everton have a midweek fixture to contend with as they host Watford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday before playing Tottenham at Goodison Park live on Renault Super Sunday (kick-off 4.30pm).