Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 1
A spectacular overhead kick from the rejuvenated Alireza Jahanbakhsh saw Albion fight back to gain a hugely creditable draw with Chelsea.
In the process the club gained a first ever point against the west Londoners.
The kick-off was slightly delayed as assistant referee Lee Betts struggled with his radio mic.
However, Chelsea with their high press were soon at Albion and not giving them any time to settle.
Christian Pulisic was giving Martin Montoya a torrid time as the Albion full back was being pulled out of positon. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount were also causing the Albion defence problems.
It was Albion who had the first chance to score. Steve Alzate picked his way through the Chelsea defence but he delayed his shot just a fraction too long and it hit Jorginho as it defelcted just wide.
Soon after Chelsea were on top. Abraham knocked a corner goalward. It was half cleared by Aaron Mooy but Cesar Azpilicueta was on hand to fire the visitors in front from the rebound.
The Seagulls had to reshuffle as Dan Burn and Reece James collided with the Albion man coming off worse, suffering a broken collar bone and being replaced by Bernado.
Just before, superb work between Neal Maupay and Mooy saw the ball fall for Leandro Trossard whose fierce shot was pushed away by Kepa in the Chelsea goal.
As the second half started, James, the Chelsea full back, was angering the home fans with his robust challenges.
Aaron Connolly had replaced the enigmatic Yves Bissouma and Albion were now making the Chelsea defence work hard. Connolly was running at and causing problems for Jorgino and Anthony Rudgier.
Davy Propper was having a game of mixed fortnues. One minute he was angling inch-perfect balls for Maupay or Connolly, the next giving away simple possession in vital areas – and from one such incident James almost doubled Chelsea’s lead.
Connolly, still without a goal since his October brace against Spurs, went close with Kepa producing a brilliant save as Jahanbakhsh was introduced for Mooy.
With nine minutes Lewis Dunk headed down a Trossard corner for Jahanbakhsh to score one of the greatest Amex goals so far and only the Albion’s second against Chelsea since 1983.
Five minutes later Trossard was at it again, finding Maupay in space 12 yards out but the Albion striker was denied by another fine stop from Kepa.
Before the end Chelsea substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi probably should have put Chelsea back in front and Dunk saw a free kick from just outside the area well fielded by Kepa.
So since that first league encounter in September 1983, when the fans ran riot and the crossbars were broken, Albion have finally gained a point from Chelsea.
Happy new year.
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