Crystal Palace 1 Brighton 2: Anthony Knockaert scores stunning winner after escaping first half red card

Anthony Knockaert’s brilliant second-half strike fired Brighton to victory over Crystal Palace in the M23 Derby.

In a game of few chances, it was always going to take something special to separate the two teams and Knockaert delivered it 16 minutes from time with a beautifully curled effort from outside the box.

Before that Brighton’s 19th-minute opener through Glenn Murray, who was a late addition to the starting line-up after Florin Andone was injured in the warm-up, had been cancelled out by Luka Milivojevic’s second-half penalty.

It looked as though Crystal Palace would go on and win the game from there, but Knockaert’s goal against the run of play ensured it was Brighton who left Selhurst Park with the three points and bragging rights.

After resting Andros Townsend and James McArthur against Burnley last week, Roy Hodgson recalled the duo for this derby as Cheikhou Kouyate and Max Meyer dropped to the bench.

There was also a recall for Vicente Guaita in goal with Julian Speroni returning to the bench. Wayne Hennessey was left out due to a knee strain.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

The tone of a feisty first half was set inside the opening minute when Knockaert was shown a yellow card for a strong tackle on Milivojevic, which could easily have led to him seeing red instead.

Moments later the Eagles captain was in the wars again as this time he was clipped on the Achilles by Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma.

It was an indication of the Seagulls’ game plan. They were happy to sit deep, stay organised and break up attacks when necessary.

As a result Palace were able to dominate possession, but they could do little with it and they were caught cold when Brighton took the lead in the 19th minute.

It was a goal out of nothing as defender Lewis Dunk hoofed a long ball forward in hope rather than expectation.

James Tomkins got his feet mixed up and missed it, and Murray was on hand to half-volley the ball into the bottom corner.

Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Rocked by going behind, Palace tried to respond but again they came up against an organised and stubborn Brighton.

Dunk was proving particularly impressive in the heart of defence, with one of his blocks just before the half-hour mark denying Zaha the chance to equalise.

Just before the break, Palace thought they should have had a penalty as Scott Dann went down in the box.

It was waved away by referee Craig Pawson, but five minutes after half-time they did get a spot-kick.

Townsend was brought down by Davy Propper and Milivojevic stepped up to score a 17th penalty since his Premier League debut in February 2017.

Suddenly the hosts were in the ascendency with Michy Batshuayi and Townsend coming into the game after a quiet first half.

However, just like the first half, Crystal Palace were caught cold as Brighton took the lead through a brilliant goal from Knockaert.

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

The winger cut in from the right and curled a wonderful strike into the top corner to win the game for his side with 16 minutes left.

Brighton are now level on 33 points with Crystal Palace, with both teams eight points clear of the relegation places.

Starting line-ups, match highlights and reaction

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp, Townsend, Zaha, Batshuayi

Substitutes: Speroni, Ward, Kelly, Meyer, Kouyate, Ayew, Benteke

Brighton XI: Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo, Stephens, Propper, Bissouma, Knockaert, Jahanbakhsh, Murray

Substitutes: Button, Burn, Bong, Kayal, March, Iziquierdo, And one (injured in warm-up)

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