Monday, May 29, 2023

Chelsea 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Enciso thunderbolt gives Lampard the Blues

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Apr 2023


Julio Enciso hit a sensational winner as Brighton and Hove Albion boosted their European qualification hopes with a 2-1 victory at Chelsea in the Premier League.

Paraguayan teenager Enciso’s 30-yard strike in the 69th minute completed a turnaround as the Seagulls claimed their first league win at Stamford Bridge and moved within four points of fifth-placed Tottenham.

The hosts had led through Conor Gallagher’s wickedly deflected effort, but that was cancelled out by substitute Danny Welbeck before half-time.

Despite ending a three-game scoreless streak, Chelsea remain 11th in the table under caretaker boss Frank Lampard and are now without a win in six matches.

Brighton carried the greater threat early on. Alexis Mac Allister twice shot wide from close range, while Evan Ferguson’s 20-yard effort rattled the crossbar.

After weathering the early storm, Chelsea broke through in the 13th minute following a sweeping move that saw Mykhailo Mudryk feed Gallagher, whose first-time shot looped in via Lewis Dunk.

The visitors threatened to level with Kepa Arrizabalaga producing smart reflex saves to thwart Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma. But the equaliser eventually arrived three minutes before the break when Welbeck headed in a deep cross from Pascal Gross.

Chelsea almost regained their advantage in stoppage time, but the woodwork kept out Christian Pulisic’s fierce header.

Brighton were the more positive of the two sides again after the break. They almost nudged ahead on the hour mark, with the persistent Enciso hitting the post before Welbeck sent the rebound over, while Mudryk called Robert Sanchez into action at the other end.

But the Seagulls edged their noses ahead in emphatic fashion with what proved to be the winning goal, Enciso unleashing a thunderbolt that left Kepa grasping at thin air.

What does it mean? Brighton dominant against sorry Blues

After failing to win any of their previous 14 league matches against Chelsea, Brighton completed a Premier League double over the Blues this season, and they were certainly good value for this success.

The Seagulls attempted 12 shots in the first half at Stamford Bridge; the joint-most that Chelsea have faced in the first half of a Premier League home game on record since the 2003-04 season.

They continued in that vein after the break to claim another impressive victory to keep their European dreams very much alive.

Enciso seals it

With a goal worthy of winning any game, Enciso secured maximum points for Brighton with one of a game-high three shots on target.

Having hit the post earlier on, the 19-year-old received the ball from Solly March before sending his thundering strike rocketing into the top corner to stun Stamford Bridge into silence.

Welbeck inspires

Introduced as a first-half substitute for the injured Ferguson, Welbeck made his mark by showing tremendous instincts to connect with the cross from Gross and head the equaliser.

The former England striker was a constant threat to Chelsea’s defence. Indeed, from Brighton’s 26 shots, he registered six of them – more than any other player – and was unlucky not to add to his tally

What’s next?

Both sides avert their attention away from the Premier League. Chelsea switch their focus to the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, when they will attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the second leg against Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Brighton take on Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals next Sunday.


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