Neal Maupay scored a dramatic last-minute equaliser to salvage an unlikely point for Brighton at Crystal Palace in a feisty 1-1 draw.
After Chelsea and Liverpool both failed to win at the weekend, a win for Graham Potter's team would have lifted them to the summit but a Wilfried Zaha penalty on the stroke of half-time looked to have flattened them.
It was Palace who played with the required punch and aggression, summed up by Conor Gallagher's determined burst that won the penalty after a lazy challenge from Leandro Trossard.
Zaha - on his 400th Palace appearance - converted from 12 yards, netting his eighth goal against the Seagulls.
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However, despite limiting Brighton to no big chances, Maupay sneaked through on goal in the last minute and lobbed a brilliant finish into the net to send the away end wild.
There were feisty scenes at the full-time whistle with James McArthur and Robert Sanchez squaring up to one another before Brighton's players were seen having verbal exchanges with Palace fans by the tunnel area.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Ward (7), Andersen (8), Guehi (7), Mitchell (7), Gallagher (8), Milivojevic (6), McArthur (7), Ayew (6), Edouard (6), Zaha (8)
Subs used: Benteke (6), Kouyate (6)
Brighton: Sanchez (6), Veltman (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Burn (5), Cucurella (5), Gross (6), Lallana (6), Welbeck (7), Trossard (5), Maupay (7)
Subs used: Alzate (6), Moder (6), Connolly (6)
Man of the match: Conor Gallagher
How Maupay left it late for Seagulls…
Vieira has managed to change Palace into a more possession-based team since taking the reins with their two centre-backs, Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi, very comfortable at starting attacks. From that base, Palace started brightly roared on by their home support, relishing the derby nature of the game from the stands.
Despite their attractive patterns in midfield, Palace were unable to seriously test Sanchez with only a powerful drive from Odsonne Edouard calling him into action on 20 minutes.
- Patrick Viera made two changes from the defeat at Liverpool with Odsonne Edouard making his full Premier League debut for Crystal Palace. He replaced Christian Benteke up top. Also, Luka Milivojevic made his first start of the season in midfield.
- Yves Bissouma failed his fitness test for Brighton, meaning Graham Potter had to make two changes from the win over Brighton. Pascal Gross slotted into midfield as he returned from a spell out with Covid-19 and Dan Burn made his first start of the season after recovering from a knee ligament injury.
Brighton got to grips with the Palace formation midway through the half and Sanchez took out the entire Palace team with a direct ball that sent Welbeck through on goal. However, Vicente Guaita showed great concentration to be out quickly at his feet to make a vital save.
The game looked set to go in level at the break but Palace found a way through just before the whistle. Joel Ward thumped into a tackle with Welbeck and sent Palace on their way into the final third. From there, Conor Gallagher made a burst into the box and was deemed to be impeded by Leandro Trossard in a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. Up stepped Zaha and he made no mistake, finding the corner before rushing off to celebrate in front of the away end.
Graham Potter switched to a back four in the second half and withdrew Dan Burn for Steven Alzate in order to try and get Brighton higher up the pitch. Lewis Dunk tested Guaita with a looping header following a corner but Palace remained relatively comfortable in their shape with Zaha always available on the counter down the left and Gallagher's tenacity in midfield shining through.
Palace should have wrapped up the points with 13 minutes to go but Jordan Ayew couldn't make the most of a chance being put on a plate for him by substitute Christian Benteke.
Despite only holding a one-goal advantage, Palace rarely looked troubled against a very lacklustre Brighton in the closing stages. In the final 40 minutes of the game, Brighton only had two efforts on the Palace goal - a Shane Duffy header that didn't really trouble Guaita and the winning goal that came out of nowhere in the final minute.
Palace may have thought the game was won as Guehi switched off from a long ball over the top from Joel Veltman and Maupay was the quickest to react. He stayed cool under pressure and skilfully lobbed an exquisite finish over Guaita to leave most of Selhurst Park crestfallen.
Man of the match: Conor Gallagher
Tenacious, industrious, full-blooded - this was everything you wanted from a player in the derby atmosphere. But what put the cherry on top of the performance was Gallagher's quality when in possession, too. He really is an all-round player who looks to be improving with every Premier League minute he plays.
No Palace player won as many tackles as him over the 90 minutes and it was his charge into the box that created what should have been the match-winning moment for the south Londoners.
Gallagher told Sky Sports: "It hurts so much - throughout the whole game we played so well defended brilliantly and worked so hard all of us. It feels like a loss, to be honest, we had the three points there and then a lack of concentration loses us two points, everyone's gutted.
"It's just concentration, a minute left, we'd never blame an individual, it's a team thing and everyone is gutted. There's stuff to learn from for sure."
What the managers said
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira: "The players are as disappointed as I am, the fans too. To concede a goal like that with the last kick is difficult to accept.
"We have to look at the game and how difficult we made it for them. They're a good side with a lot of confidence. We should take the three points.
"We gave them so many problems. The way they played the last 15 minutes with long balls doesn't look like them. Not scoring the second goal left the door open. That was an important moment for us.
"It was a tough game. Both teams didn't create much.
"We are improving. We're getting stronger. The first few games we played against Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, we managed to create chances. We deserve to have more points so far. We're in a good process."
Brighton boss Graham Potter: "It's a fantastic feeling. It's great for our supporters. It was a tight game. We pushed and pushed in the second half. We showed great spirit to keep going. It was a fantastic finish to get the equaliser.
"The crowd make a huge difference and Patrick's style of play has changed to what they did before.
"It was a hard-fought tight game. I didn't think there was too much in it. In the end we are happy with a point."
"Dan [Burn] has been injured a long time and we felt a change might help. We weren't fantastic in the first half, but we weren't bad. We had some good opportunities. We wanted another player in midfield to help us in the build-up. We didn't control that as well as we'd like.
"There's a resilience, belief and character there. I didn't think it was a one-sided affair. We deserved a point more than Palace did when they won 2-1 last time. That's 13 points from six games, a good start but we can improve."
Player reaction: 'I felt there was one last chance'
Brighton striker Neal Maupay to Sky Sports:
"It's been a tough game. I thought Palace played well and we weren't so good today but the resilience of the team was spot on. In the end we scored so we are definitely happy with this point tonight.
On if he knew how late his goal was: "I knew because I asked the ref how long was on the clock and he said minute so I was like ok, we might have one more chance but we might not. The ball went in behind the defender and I believed I could get it and in the end, I scored so I'm very, very happy tonight.
"You've got to believe the ball is coming to you even if you might not get it. If you don't believe the ball coming then you might stop and it's too late and the defender might be in front of you. The whole game we didn't have much to work with for the forwards and the whole team basically but sometimes one chance is all it takes to score and get something from the game.
"I need to see it again but when the ball bounced I saw the keeper not on his line and it's hard for a keeper to jump running backwards and I was like ok, that's my chance to put it above him and I thought I did well so I'm happy with this goal."
Analysis: What happened at the end?
Thierry Henry told Monday Night Football:
"I can only believe what I saw from what Guehi did at the very end. If you're going to do that in this type of game, you're going to get punished in the Premier League.
"Guehi was brilliant throughout the game but in the last minute, he decides to let the ball drop over his head. He knows as he put his hands up but he let the ball bounce.
"I was impressed with Palace and I feel sorry for Patrick. Connor Gallagher shouldn't be in the team that didn't win the game in the end tonight. Palace should've won.
"I like what Zaha did off the ball today but in the Premier League, little details count. You can't make those little mistakes in this league."
Jamie Carragher told Monday Night Football:
"It's his understanding of what's around him. He wasn't aware that Maupay was there.
"A lot of times last season, you watched Brighton and felt they didn't get what they deserved. But it was the same tonight - they didn't deserve to get the equaliser as Palace were the better side.
"Last season, they were in that situation themselves, missing the chances Palace did tonight. That's football."
- Zaha has scored more goals (8) against Brighton than against any other side in English Football (all competitions) -The Ivorian has scored five goals in his last five against the Seagulls at Selhurst Park.
- Zaha made his 400th appearance in all competitions for Crystal Palace and netted his 70th goal for the Eagles. He also scored in consecutive home Premier League games for Crystal Palace (two penalties) for the first time since May 2018 (a run of three).
- At 94 minutes and 26 seconds, Maupay's equaliser was Brighton's joint-second latest-ever Premier League goal, after Solly March's strike against Manchester United in September 2020 (94:29).
Live Renault Super Sunday
Crystal Palace now host Leicester on Super Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while Brighton host Arsenal on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm.