Brighton 4-2 Tottenham: Joao Pedro scores two penalties in win for Seagulls

Brighton 4-2 Tottenham: Joao Pedro scores two penalties in win for Seagulls
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Brighton's Joao Pedro scores from the penalty spot against Tottenham in the Premier League
Eight of Joao Pedro’s 13 goals for Brighton this season have come from the penalty spot

A superb display saw Brighton overcome Tottenham in the Premier League at the Amex Stadium.

Pedro doubled the Seagulls’ lead from the penalty spot after Dejan Kulusevski had pulled back Danny Welbeck in the area.

Brighton continued to press, with James Milner hitting the post and Facundo Buonanotte having a goal disallowed for offside, before Richarlison also clipped the woodwork for the visitors.

Spurs failed to have a shot on target in the first half but improved in the second period, with Richarlison twice seeing efforts ruled out for offside.

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However, Brighton made sure of the three points less than a minute after the second of those when Pervis Estupinan fired a brilliant 25-yard dipping effort into the top corner.

Pedro added a fourth goal when he sent Guglielmo Vicario the wrong way from the spot again after Evan Ferguson was bundled over in the area.

Tottenham threatened an unlikely comeback after Alejo Veliz and Ben Davies pulled two back, but Spurs could not convert a string of other late chances.

“We played fantastic football for 80 minutes and then we were unlucky in the first goal we conceded,” Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi told BBC Match of the Day.

“I think this season it was the best performance. Not just for Joao Pedro and Billy Gilmour, I am speaking in general for Brighton.”

The win sees Brighton climb above Newcastle into eighth, while Spurs stay fifth, a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

Fired-up Brighton deliver

A week without a game has been a rare luxury in Brighton’s season as they experience European football for the first time, but they used the break to their advantage.

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After allowing Spurs to have the ball early on, they were soon all over them, launching attack after attack.

De Zerbi has bemoaned Brighton’s reliance on youth recently, but 18-year-old Hinshelwood was superb at right-back and took his goal with aplomb.

His strike was Brighton’s 19th by a teenager in the Premier League in 2023 – Manchester United have the second most with four. Brighton’s tally has only been bettered twice in Premier League history by Liverpool in 1998 (25) and 1994 (22).

Pedro was a constant handful, looking to exploit Spurs’ high defensive line, and took both of his penalties clinically.

Estupinan’s excellent strike put the gloss on the win, with the Ecuador left-back featuring for the first time since 30 September.

There will be disappointment they were unable to keep a clean sheet – they have now conceded in 23 straight league games – and that they had to weather a late storm, with De Zerbi throwing a water bottle in frustration during stoppage time.

All in all, this was a display that served as a reminder of what Brighton can do as we reach the halfway mark of the season.

“I am really lucky to be this coach of this team with these players. I am very pleased with the passion they have, they have everything,” added De Zerbi.

“You can’t forget we are Brighton. Sometimes they forget we are Brighton. We are not Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle or Arsenal, we are still Brighton.”

Reinforcements needed for threadbare Spurs

For much of the game, this felt like one game too many for Spurs’ threadbare squad.

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Boss Ange Postecoglou was forced into two changes, with centre-back Christian Romero ruled out for more than a month with a hamstring injury and midfielder Oliver Skipp out with a knock.

For the majority of the match, Spurs’ defence was run ragged and the midfield was simply outclassed and outfought by Brighton.

Postecoglou has made no secret of his desire to add defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window and this will only intensify that search, with full-back Emerson Royal struggling centrally and Eric Dier, who was an unused substitute, clearly not fancied.

Spurs did look a threat going forward throughout, but Richarlison was ill-disciplined as he led the line, with the run for his second disallowed goal particularly poorly judged.

Postecoglou will be happy with the late spirit his side showed as Veliz scored his first goal for the club and Davies powered home a back-post header.

They then laid siege to Brighton’s goal, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hitting the post and Pedro Porro’s follow-up being blocked behind, but ultimately they left themselves too much to do.

“It is fair to say we looked like a tired team today,” Postecoglou told Match of the Day.

“We’ve asked a lot of these players for a very long time and we lacked a little bit of energy today. They are a good team and we struggled to cope with them.

“We hung in there and that’s all you can ask for, they left everything out there.”

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