A Kazenga LuaLua goal five minutes into the second half proved enough for Brighton and Hove Albion to make a winning start to their Championship campaign with a 1-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest.
Returning hero Bobby Zamora was introduced to the home fans before kick-off at the American Express Stadium, but was not included in the matchday squad and instead it was left to former Newcastle man LuaLua to grab the plaudits.
Both sides went close to breaking the deadlock during a lively first half, with Brighton debutant Beram Kayal and Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury both seeing shots cannon back off the woodwork.
Tomer Hemed’s header almost put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time, only for Dorus de Vries to make a superb one-handed save.
There was nothing De Vries could do soon after the interval, however, as Solly March teed up LuaLua, who fired home a low drive from just inside the box.
Overall, it was Chris Hughton’s men who created the better chances, while the visitors lacked a cutting edge in the absence of the injured Britt Assombalonga, Matty Fryatt and Andy Reid.
Tyler Walker, Lansbury and Michail Antonio all threatened to snatch a point for Dougie Freedman’s side as they applied late pressure, but Brighton held firm to record their first opening-day victory in four years.
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