Sports Monks

Fiery Scenes at end of Palace – Brighton after dramatic Maupay equaliser

Brighton players and Crystal Palace fans goaded each other near the tunnel following a dramatic and fiery end to their Premier League draw at Selhurst Park.

Seagulls striker Neal Maupay scored a 95th-minute equaliser, cancelling out Wilfried Zaha’s penalty, before being involved in a heated confrontation with Zaha as the game restarted.

Both sets of players then got in an argument as the final whistle went.

Afterwards, Brighton players heading down the tunnel had to run a gauntlet of home supporters, with a group of fans taunting the visitors – and getting the same back from some Albion players.

Brighton supporters broke through the advertising hoardings to celebrate their equaliser and a blue flare was thrown onto the pitch.

“With the goal going in at that time there’s emotion and passion, which you’d expect,” said Seagulls manager Graham Potter, who hung back as the exchanges took place before heading down the tunnel. “There wasn’t a massive amount of security there and it’s a little bit intimidating. Everyone is OK.”

Maupay, who celebrated by cupping his ears in front of the Palace fans, clashed with Zaha on the halfway line as Palace were ready to take the kick-off.

“Football is nothing without fans and some involvement with players,” said Maupay. “The atmosphere was really tough and when I scored, I looked at Zaha and smiled at him because when he scored his penalty he celebrated and he gave some to our fans.

“I won’t say what he said and what I said but you know how it is on the pitch with players sometimes. You give banter on the pitch sometimes and it was the perfect time to give him something.”

The game itself was exciting enough before the action in the stands.

With seconds left on the clock, Palace keeper Vicente Guaita passed the ball straight to Joel Veltman on the halfway line.

Veltman hit a long ball into the path of Maupay, who lobbed Guaita from the edge of the box.

Zaha had looked set to be the hero when he scored a penalty – his eighth goal against Albion – at the end of the first half after Leandro Trossard barged over Conor Gallagher.

Maupay’s equaliser was not enough to send Brighton top of the table at the end of a day for the first time in their 120-year history, which a win would have done.

Palace are a team whose style of play has been transformed under Patrick Vieira this season and will be hugely frustrated by the finale, having missed chances to seal the win.

This is the third time in a row that this rivalry has seen a late game-changing goal.

Last October, it was Alexis Mac Allister in the 90th minute to rescue a 1-1 draw for Brighton. In February, Christian Benteke scored in the 95th minute as Palace won 2-1.

Both those games had something in common – Brighton deserved to win.

In those two games Brighton had 45 shots, with Palace scoring with three of their four efforts.

But this time it was the Seagulls who were fortunate to get a point.

Palace are a different team this season. They are proactive now with passing and pressing, compared to the reactive style of counter-attacking football under Roy Hodgson.

In the first half of this game, Palace had more shots, touches in Brighton’s box and passes in the final third than they had in those two matches last season combined.

They deservedly led through Zaha’s confident penalty, his fifth goal in five games at Selhurst Park against Albion. Jordan Ayew missed a glorious chance to kill the game off when he shot wide on the end of a counter-attack.

Brighton remain sixth, a far cry from their four seasons in the Premier League until now, all between 15th and 17th place.

Potter said before the game not much was actually different this season – just the club having more luck. Or perhaps the absence of bad luck.

Palace played quite ‘Brighton-esque football’ at times, especially in the first half, which they dominated.

Actual Brighton were better when Steven Alzate replaced Dan Burn at half-time and they went to a back four. Alzate went off injured himself 20 minutes later, but the system remained.

They had as many shots in the first seven minutes of the second half as they did in the first 45 (three). But they had to wait until the 90th minute for another chance with Shane Duffy heading straight at Guaita.

It looked as if that would be their final chance but Maupay ghosted in behind the Palace defence to loft the ball over Guaita’s head.

Source: BBC Sport

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