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Brighton beat Southampton to book historic European spot

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Brighton 3-1 Southampton - Premier League
Brighton players celebrating a goal in the match against Southampton on May, 21 2023. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Brighton hosted relegated Southampton in a Premier League clash on Sunday evening
  • Brighton have been chasing a European slot and a victory over the Saints would have confirmed a spot for them
  • Three goals ensured the fans will witness the Europa League matches at the Amex Stadium next season

Brighton achieved a historic milestone by securing European football for the first time, virtually guaranteeing their place in the Europa League with a 3-1 home victory over Southampton, who had already been relegated from the Premier League.

The hero of the day was 18-year-old Evan Ferguson, who etched his name in Brighton’s history books by scoring two goals before halftime, propelling his team closer to their inaugural European qualification. Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi made the match interesting by heading home a goal to reduce the deficit in the second half. However, a potential equalizer for Southampton was disallowed by VAR before Pascal Gross sealed the game for Brighton.

Brighton 3-1 Southampton - Premier League

Brighton forward Evan Ferguson leads other players in celebration after scoring against Southampton in a Premier League clash on Sunday, May 21 2023, booking a Europa League slot in the process. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |

Brighton, currently in sixth place with a game in hand, still has a chance to finish level on points with Aston Villa, but it would require an improbable swing in goal difference for Villa to surpass them and snatch the Europa League spot.

The occasion was marked by the presence of a band from North Carolina State University, whose rendition of “Sweet Caroline” with trumpets and sousaphones uplifted the spirits of the sold-out crowd.

READ: Brighton considering selling Moises Caicedo in the summer transfer

The game started with some shaky moments for Brighton, but they quickly found their rhythm. Kaoru Mitoma and Pervis Estupinan had attempts at goal, while Theo Walcott missed a golden opportunity for Southampton.

Brighton eventually took the lead through Ferguson, who received a pass from Alexis Mac Allister and fired a low shot into the net. Ferguson doubled his tally with assistance from Mitoma, who challenged Romeo Lavia for the ball before setting up the young Irishman for his 10th goal of the season.

Southampton showed resilience and pulled a goal back through Elyounoussi’s header from James Ward-Prowse’s corner. There was a moment of suspense when Walcott appeared to score an equalizer, but VAR ruled it out after a check.

Gross extended Brighton’s lead by capitalizing on a loose ball and calmly slotting it into the net. This goal equalled the club record for Premier League goals alongside Glenn Murray and Neal Maupay.

Despite late chances for Brighton, including opportunities for Mac Allister and Deniz Undav, the final whistle blew after a tense seven minutes of stoppage time, and Brighton celebrated their historic achievement of European qualification.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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