Brighton survive Leicester comeback after two goals ruled out

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Danny Welbeck of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 2-0 during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City at American Express Community Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Brighton, England. - GETTY IMAGES
Danny Welbeck of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 2-0 during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City at American Express Community Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Brighton, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Brighton are making history, but they put their fans through an emotional wringer at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Their best start to a Premier League season continued with a fourth victory in five games and their first against Leicester City in nine attempts, putting them, improbably, into the Champions League places. But after taking a two-goal lead, they allowed Leicester back into the match and had to survive a late onslaught from the visitors that included two disallowed goals.

Neal Maupay had put Brighton ahead with his third goal of the season, Danny Welbeck doubling the lead five minutes into the second half with his first of the campaign. Jamie Vardy made it 2-1 with his sixth goal in nine games against the Seagulls, his 150th for Leicester on his 250th Premier League appearance for them. But although Ademola Lookman and Wilfred Ndidi both got the ball into the Brighton net following corner kicks, Harvey Barnes was ruled to be offside on both occasions.

“The margins that maybe went away from us last season went in our favour today,” Graham Potter, the Brighton head coach, said. “We dug in. It is a great start for us but that is all it is – a start. There’s a long way to go.”

Leicester began well, but by the interval, Brighton were on top and a goal ahead, referee Stuart Attwell first giving a corner before his assistant signalled for a penalty, Var eventually confirming that a header by Shane Duffy had struck the arm of Jannik Vestergaard. The defender protested - with every justification but in vain - that he had been fouled by Maupay.

“Never a penalty,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, said. “I am disappointed with the process. Jannik was held down and it has hit his arm.”

The French forward dispatched the kick past Kasper Schmeichel with an impressive confidence bearing in mind that the goalkeeper had saved his effort on the previous occasion they had faced each other from 12 yards, in a goalless draw at the KingPower Stadium in June 2020.

Neal Maupay of Brighton & Hove Albion scores their side's first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City at American Express Community Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Brighton, England. - GETTY IMAGES
Neal Maupay of Brighton & Hove Albion scores their side's first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City at American Express Community Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Brighton, England. - GETTY IMAGES

And Brighton were two ahead after 50 minutes, Welbeck leaping to glance a header past Schmeichel from Leandro Trossard’s free kick on the right.

But Leicester were far from done and Brighton gave them too much space on the hour and Vardy shot home from close range from a cross by Youri Tielemans.

Leicester had led a two-goal lead slip against Napoli in midweek and now it looked as though they would achieve the reverse. And they thought they had equalised when substitute Ademola Lookman half-volleyed home from a corner by Tielemans but Barnes was ruled to be offside and obstructing the view of goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.

And after 84 minutes Wilfred Ndidi headed in but again it was disallowed, Barnes once more offside and in Sanchez’ eye line. “The first one, he was unsighted, I can see that,” Rodgers said. “But the second one, Harvey was coming out and everything was in front of the keeper.”

“The offsides felt tight to me,” Potter admitted. “We have to acknowledge that sometimes you are lucky and today I thought we earned that. We don’t make any apologies for it.”

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