Cucurella absent as Brighton and Hove Albion thrash Espanyol in Amex friendly

Posted On 30 Jul 2022 at 5:39 pm

Brighton and Hove Albion ended their pre-season campaign on a high as they ran out comfortable 5-1 winners against Espanyol at the Amex Stadium.

Brighton fielded a more familiar starting line up after the midweek defeat against Brentford.

But Marc Cucurella was conspicuous by his absence amid reports that the defender had handed in a transfer request after interest from Manchester City.

That may have been the pre-match narrative but the Seagulls were quick to do all their talking on the pitch, controlling the game from the first whistle.

A classic set-piece corner in the 17th minute gave Brighton a well-deserved lead as Pascal Gross swung a delivery into the box, with Adam Webster heading home.

Danny Welbeck and Enock Mwepu combined well throughout the half, with both players managing shots on goal, but the visitors held on to keep the score 1-0 at the break.

The hosts began the second half in flying fashion, with Lewis Dunk making it 2-0 from a looping header after a cross from Leandro Trossard in the 48th minute.

The Trossard show began just six minutes later as he spectacularly volleyed home a deflected cross from Joel Veltman to make it 3-0.

Superb footwork from the Belgian in the 63rd minute opened up another shot past hapless goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, with the ball nestling in the bottom corner to make it four.

The forward completed his hat-trick in the 69th minute, slotting home after a lovely disguised set up from substitute Adam Lallana to make it 5-0 and ensure a comfortable outing for Brighton.

Espanyol salvaged a bit of pride in the 77th minute as Joselu finished past Robert Sanchez but it was scant consolation in a one-sided contest at the Amex.

Graham Potter can be pleased with his team’s pre-season performances as his side prepares for the start of the new season with an away game against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Sunday (7 August).

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