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English Premier League

Brighton 1 – 0 Bournemouth

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Brighton 1 - 0 Bournemouth

Brighton 1 – 0 Bournemouth. Kaoru Mitoma scored a late winner for the second game running as Brighton edged past Bournemouth at Amex Stadium.

Mitoma, whose stoppage-time goal earned victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend, steered a header past Cherries goalkeeper Neto with three minutes remaining to spark joyous scenes among the home supporters.

Deniz Undav should have put the home side ahead in the first half, shooting against the post from close range after being denied twice in quick succession by blocks from Chris Mepham and Neto.

Jefferson Lerma shot wide from Jaidon Anthony’s cross as Bournemouth began to grow into the contest, but the hosts continued to carve out the better openings and twice went close through Danny Welbeck before half-time.

Billy Gilmour fired into the side-netting and Cherries debutant Antoine Semenyo had a shot blocked by the retreating Pervis Estupinan in a delicately poised second half before Mitoma’s late header broke the visitors’ hearts.

Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi left Moises Caicedo out of his starting line-up after the Ecuadorian midfielder’s attempts to force a move away from the club during the January transfer window.

The Seagulls climb to sixth, while Bournemouth is 19th after Everton’s victory over Arsenal in Saturday’s early game.

Caicedo’s omission meant Brighton started a league game without either the Ecuadorian or the suspended Alexis Mac Allister for only the second time this season, the other occasion being the 4-2 defeat at home to Arsenal on 31 December.

The Seagulls, who were also without in-form teenager Evan Ferguson through injury, looked set to draw a blank for the first time in a Premier League game since October until Mitoma’s late effort.

They controlled possession early on as Bournemouth set up camp inside their own half, but Undav somehow failed to put the hosts ahead with a quarter of an hour played.

The German striker, making only his second league start this season, intercepted Neto’s misplaced pass but after Mepham blocked his initial effort, Undav proceeded to fire straight at the Bournemouth goalkeeper before shooting against the post with his second follow-up shot.

Bournemouth improved as the half wore on but Welbeck headed straight at Neto from Solly March’s delivery, then steered a low Undav cross wide of the far post shortly before half-time.

Caicedo was given a rousing reception by the Brighton supporters when he entered the fray just before the hour mark, but it was the midfielder’s compatriot Estupinan who came to the home side’s rescue midway through the second period by throwing himself in front of Semenyo’s shot.

Brighton’s late pressure eventually told, though – Mitoma netting his sixth goal in nine appearances across all competitions to consolidate Brighton’s place in the top six.

Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil handed debuts to January signings Semenyo and Hamed Traore, while Dango Ouattara made his second appearance following an eye-catching Premier League introduction against Nottingham Forest a fortnight ago.

The trio failed to make the scoresheet but their pace, direct running and energy could prove a major asset as Bournemouth look to avoid an immediate return to the Championship this season.

Semenyo’s tremendous solo run midway through the second period deserved a better outcome – but the former Bristol City player was thwarted by Estupinan’s block.

Lerma should have done better from Anthony’s cross in the first half, while O’Neil will feel his team should have been awarded a penalty either side of half-time.

Estupinan’s robust challenge on Ouattara went unpunished in the first half, before Ryan Christie’s cross appeared to strike the full-back on the hand in the second.

Victories for fellow strugglers Everton, Wolves and Leicester compounded a miserable afternoon for the visitors, whose next five league games include encounters with Newcastle, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

source – BBC

English Premier League

Everton 2-0 Nottingham Forest

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Everton 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Everton 2-0 Nottingham Forest. Everton took a vital step towards Premier League survival with victory over fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest in a scrappy affair at Goodison Park.

Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil scored with long-range efforts in each half to settle the battle between the two clubs who have suffered Premier League points deductions this season – with appeals pending that could still shape their fate as the campaign reaches its climax.

Everton have now moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand on Luton Town but Forest remain deep in trouble, only a point ahead of the Hatters.

Forest, however, were left fuming when referee Anthony Taylor twice ignored penalty appeals, first when Ashley Young handled in the closing moments of the opening half and then when the veteran tangled with Callum Hudson-Odoi as he raced in on goal in the second period.

Everton broke the deadlock after 29 minutes when Gueye fired low past Matz Sels, only his second goal in a century of attempts from outside the area, with McNeil settling the destiny of the points when he drilled home via the post from 25 yards with 14 minutes left.

There were worrying scenes in stoppage time when Everton striker Beto went down after an aerial challenge with Morgan Gibbs-White.

He lay motionless and the game was stopped for eight minutes while he received treatment before he was taken away on a stretcher. He did, however, appear to gesture to the Everton supporters as he was leaving the pitch.

Everton needed an instant response after the humiliation of Monday’s 6-0 loss at Chelsea and while, apart from the two goals, it was not a performance to earn points for artistic merit, it earned points of a far more significant kind as the Toffees once again find themselves embroiled in a fight against relegation.

They were thankful for an outstanding save by England keeper Jordan Pickford from Forest striker Chris Wood with the score 1-0 and those controversial moments when Young escaped conceding penalties.

Everton, however, showed the battling qualities that were absent at Stamford Bridge, took the chances they had and cashed in on the moments of good fortune afforded to them.

It was not a game of any serious quality, which was hardly to be expected between two struggling teams in a tense situation, but this is immaterial at this stage of the season.

Jarrad Branthwaite demonstrated once again why he is so highly regarded as Everton kept Forest at bay, enabling Sean Dyche’s side to make a winning start to a week that could yet define their season, with a Merseyside derby to come against Liverpool at Goodison Park on Wednesday and another home game against Brentford next Saturday evening.

source – BBC

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English Premier League

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

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Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton.Liverpool moved top of the Premier League – for a couple of hours at least – as Mohamed Salah ended Brighton’s resistance to secure a vital victory at Anfield.

With title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal meeting later on Sunday, Liverpool knew the significance of beating the resolute Seagulls in the early kick-off.

But Brighton striker Danny Welbeck stunned the hosts by thumping a strike into the top corner with only 87 seconds on the clock.

Liverpool responded strongly and began to dominate possession, with Luis Diaz poking home the equaliser from close range before the half-hour mark.

Salah, making his first league start since New Year’s Day, had missed a host of chances but eventually made one count when he coolly slotted in from Alexis Mac Allister’s pass in the 65th minute.

The hosts thought they had all but sealed the win when Diaz fired in after 73 minutes but his effort was ruled out by the video assistant referee for a tight offside.

Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk came closest to snatching a draw for the visitors, but saw two headers saved by home keeper Caoimhin Kelleher in quick succession.

Former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana also fired wide just moments after coming on as a substitute late on.

Ultimately Salah’s strike proved the difference as relieved Reds fans greeted the final whistle with an exuberant celebration.

Liverpool move on to 67 points, three ahead of Arsenal – who have a superior goal difference – and four in front of City before their match at Etihad Stadium.

The title race has developed into a fascinating three-way battle where it feels like every dropped point could be crucial.

And, with Liverpool playing before their two rivals go head-to-head, Easter Sunday has long been circled as a potentially pivotal day in the league campaign.

All the Reds could do was focus on winning their game against a Brighton side with a good record against Jurgen Klopp’s team, and led by a manager in Roberto de Zerbi being touted as a potential successor to the German.

The hosts had to show fight, belief and patience before Salah, not for the first time, ended up being the match-winner in a game of huge magnitude.

For more than an hour it had looked like it was not going to be the Egyptian forward’s day as a host of chances went begging for the Reds talisman.

Salah had seven shots in the first half without really stretching Brighton keeper Bart Verbruggen, while he could not quite reach Diaz’s dinked cross to the far post after half-time.

Another opportunity came when Mac Allister’s slick through ball cut through his former club’s defence and this time Salah found the bottom corner with a composed finish.

Only time will tell – especially with so many twists and turns to come in the remaining nine rounds of games – exactly how important this victory will be.

source – BBC

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English Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Luton Town

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Luton Town

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Luton Town. Son Heung-min scored a late winner as Tottenham recovered from a goal down to beat Luton and move into the top four of the Premier League.

Son collected half-time substitute Brennan Johnson’s clever pass before beating Hatters goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski with a low shot, which took a deflection off Daiki Hashioka on its way in.

Tahith Chong’s well-worked goal had given the Hatters an early lead, but Spurs responded well and equalised early in the second half when Johnson’s cross was turned into his own net by Issa Kabore.

Spurs laid siege to the Luton goal after restoring parity, but a series of crucial last-ditch challenges kept Ange Postecoglou’s team at bay – and Alfie Doughty somehow prevented Johnson’s close-range effort from rolling over the line.

However, there was nothing Luton could do about Son’s 15th goal of the season, which means Tottenham have come from behind to win four of their past five home Premier League matches.

Aston Villa will reclaim fourth place with a draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers later on Saturday. Luton, meanwhile, drop into the relegation zone.

Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat at Fulham before the international break was described by Son as a “big wake-up call”, but it took Postecoglou’s team a while to hit their stride against Luton.

The opening goal was a sloppy one to concede, with Son dispossessed on the edge of the Luton area and Yves Bissouma beaten far too easily by Andros Townsend in the build-up to Chong’s crisp finish.

But Spurs were left cursing their luck when Son’s shot rattled the inside of the near post, rolled across the goalline, struck the other post and bounced clear – moments after Timo Werner had dragged a shot wide from an excellent position.

In the same move, Werner’s follow-up effort was blocked by Kabore before Teden Mengi blocked Pape Sarr’s goalbound shot on the line.

Tottenham have now failed to score a first-half goal in six consecutive games, but they were level early in the second half when Johnson – who replaced the ineffective Dejan Kulusevski at half-time – drilled a low ball across the face of goal and Kabore slammed it into his own net.

It seemed only a matter of time before Spurs’ relentless pressure would pay off, but when Doughty’s last-gasp intervention denied Johnson, Tottenham fans could have been forgiven for thinking it might not be their day.

When the second goal did arrive there was an element of luck about it, but it was a slice of good fortune Son and his team-mates deserved after going agonisingly close on more than one occasion.

Luton took less than three minutes to extend their club-record scoring run to 18 successive top-flight fixtures, but once again they were unable to retain their advantage.

Rob Edwards’ men are just the third side in Premier League history to lose three successive games in which they have led at half-time, after Aston Villa in May 2021 and Sunderland in April 2003.

The visitors even went close to doubling their advantage in the first half, but the retreating James Maddison produced a crucial block to deny Carlton Morris at the near post.

Luton continued to pose a threat on the counter-attack in the second half, with Ross Barkley and Jordan Clark both testing Guglielmo Vicario with low drives from the edge of the penalty area.

Kabore produced several important blocks after putting through his own net, and Kaminski and Doughty combined to keep out Johnson – but Spurs’ pressure finally told when Son’s shot crept in off the unfortunate Hashioka.

With trips to title-chasing Arsenal and Manchester City still to come before the end of the season, it appears Luton’s home form will be key to their hopes of preserving their Premier League status.

source – BBC

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