A late goal from Kaoru Mitoma earned Brighton a dramatic 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened Bournemouth, as the Seagulls moved within five points of the Premier League top-four.
Having amassed a club-record 31 points during the first half of the season, Brighton looked full of confidence during the opening exchanges.
The first gilt-edged chance fell to Deniz Undav, who fired an effort against the post after Neto had saved his initial strike. Undeterred by Brighton’s early dominance, however, the visitors slowly grew into the contest and came close to breaking the deadlock when Jefferson Lerma directed a good chance narrowly over the bar.
The hosts emerged after the restart eager to up the ante, but wasteful finishing from Danny Welbeck and Billy Gilmour continued to frustrate the home support.
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi looked to inject some much-needed dynamism with the introduction of Moisés Caicedo on the hour mark, but the Cherries’ rearguard held firm to keep the scores level going into the final 15 minutes.
Having recorded just one win from their previous 11 league matches, Bournemouth looked set to secure a vital point in their pursuit of PL survival.
However, Brighton stole all three points with just three minutes remaining, as Mitoma connected with Jeremy Sarmiento’s cross and directed an accurate header beyond Neto to finally break the visitors’ resistance.
While De Zerbi will be delighted with the three points, his counterpart in the opposite dugout, Gary O’Neil, will be extremely disappointed to concede so late on, and his team remain in 19th as a result.
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