Wilfried Zaha scored from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time but Neal Maupay netted a dramatic last-gasp equaliser to rescue a point for Brighton against Crystal Palace
Neal Maupay came to Brighton’s rescue to score a dramatic last-gasp equaliser in a feisty clash with rivals Crystal Palace.
The Eagles were moments away from securing three points in the so-called M23 derby thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s penalty on the stroke of half-time.
The winger, making his 400th appearance for Palace on Monday night, kept his cool after Leandro Trossard needlessly brought down the impressive Conor Gallagher in the box.
But Maupay continued his fine start to the season by latching onto Joel Veltman’s hopeful through ball and lobbed Vicente Guaita to secure a share of the spoils.
Unfortunately for the Seagulls a point was not enough to move them into top spot in the top flight for the first time in their history.
But, what else happened at Selhurst Park? Here, Mirror Sport takes a look at the main talking points…
1. Zaha steals the show
Zaha loves playing against Brighton; prior to this encounter, he had scored seven goals against the Seagulls in all competitions including four in his last four at Selhurst Park.
If the Eagles’ fierce rivalry wasn’t enough to get Zaha pumped up for this clash, the added element of the Ivory Coast star making his 400th appearance for the south Londoners certainly added to the excitement.
And the tricky winger did his best to mark the occasion with a memorable performance, proving a constant menace down the left flank during the early stages of this exciting encounter.
The majority of Palace’s attacks in the opening period came down the left side, with Patrick Vieira seemingly identifying Veltman as a weak link in the Seagulls’ defence.
Indeed, Zaha kept up his incredible form in front of goal in this encounter when he fired home from the penalty spot to give Palace a deserved lead.
He enjoyed the moment too, immediately running to the Brighton fans to rub salt into their wounds.
2. Two teams with exciting futures
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Much has been said about the pair’s rivalry – and the often-claimed confusing nature of it – but you certainly can’t question their attacking intent.
Both teams opted for three-man attacks; Zaha, Odsonne Edouard and Jordan Ayew for Palace, while Danny Welbeck, Trossard and Neal Maupay were given the nod by Seagulls boss Graham Potter.
It was evident from the first whistle that Palace came to entertain their vocal home support, testing Brighton stopper Robert Sanchez with several efforts in the opening 20 minutes.
Brighton, to their credit, didn’t sit back and they had plenty of fortune on the counter attack against a well-drilled Palace defence, while their determination to play out from the back often proved successful too.
These two may not been glamour names in the Premier League – but they certainly play the right way.
3. Edouard handles the big occasion
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Edouard was given the nod by Vieira to make his first start for Palace since joining from Celtic in a Deadline Day move worth £14million.
But Vieira finally decided to throw him in from the start and the striker, who experienced plenty of Old Firm clashes during his three-year stint in Scotland, will have learnt a lot from this feisty encounter.
Going up against three towering centre-backs in Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Dan Burn is no easy feat, but the 23-year-old was able to stretch the Seagulls’ defence, allowing Zaha and Ayew to have space to run into down the flanks.
He continued to throw his weight around in the second half and can count himself unfortunate that he was unable to get himself on the scoresheet.
His evening was then brought to an end 18 minutes from time when Christian Benteke came on to replace him.
4. Half-time Brighton switch backfires
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Despite seemingly handling Palace’s attack in the opening period, Seagulls boss Potter decided to haul off Burn at the half-time.
Instead, he opted for a tactical tweak by going to four at the back – and threw on Steven Alzate in his place to add more numbers in midfield.
But Alzate lasted just 20 minutes before a tangle with Ayew saw him land awkwardly and the Colombia international was forced off injured.
Jakub Moder, the Polish midfielder, was thrown into the mix but unfortunately for the visiting supporters he was unable to make an impact.
5. Vieira buys into the Palace project
In the build up to this clash, Potter claimed Vieira could one day become an even better manager than he was a player.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles and four FA Cup crowns during a glittering playing spell in the top-flight with Arsenal.
Potter was full of praise for his rival and said: “He would be some manager if he gets to that point. There’s nothing stopping him at all. It’s just a process.
“You have good days and bad days. You have failures. It’s how you deal with them. Keep going. Keep improving.”
Fortunately for Palace fans, it was a good day for Vieira until the late drama – and he seemed to relish the opportunity of going head-to-head with his side’s fierce rivals.
The Eagles boss was a vocal cheerleader for his team throughout this clash, constantly offering support and praise for his players including Zaha.