Report: Palace defeated at Brighton - News
• Injury rules out Eze; Olise moves to the bench
• Dunk glances hosts into the lead from third-minute corner
• Guéhi injury hands Wharton his debut from the bench
• Olise comes on but is forced to withdraw
Palace were looking to build on Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Sheffield United at Selhurst Park, although injuries to both goalscorers that night – Michael Olise and Ebere Eze – led to two enforced changes for the team.
One of them saw Daniel Muñoz, the Colombia international right-back recruited from K.R.C. Genk earlier in the week, come in for his Palace and Premier League debut, with Jeffrey Schlupp returning to the starting XI. Adam Wharton, Palace’s other January arrival, began the game on the bench.
Just as they did so in midweek, however, Palace gave themselves an early mountain to climb by conceding early, Lewis Dunk rising highest to glance home Pascal Groß’ corner inside three minutes.
Looking to disrupt Brighton’s passing game, the Eagles pressed high, Schlupp winning the ball high and driving towards goal, but his low effort across goal was held by Bart Verbruggen.
Palace’s misfortune would only continue as, seconds after Dean Henderson saved from Facundo Buonanotte’s flicked header, Marc Guéhi went down injured while attempting to reach it.
The result was another debut, Wharton brought on to replace the defender as Palace changed shape to four at the back.
Brighton doubled their lead after 33 minutes, a fortunate deflection seeing the ball loop to Tariq Lamptey, whose hanging cross picked out Jack Hinshelwood at the back post; the midfielder’s floated header found the far top corner.
It was three within moments, as Buonanotte exchanged passes with Groß, cut inside his marker and placed an effort beyond Henderson.
Palace did come close to pulling a goal back on the stroke of half-time when Schlupp’s high pressing saw him pick Paul Van Hecke’s pocket. Carrying the ball into the box, the No. 15’s effort across goal was well-struck, but beaten away by a plunging Verbruggen.
There was a glimpse of Muñoz’s attacking quality on the stroke of half-time as his overlapping run and accurate pick-out found Jefferson Lerma on the edge of the box, but his fellow Colombian’s left-footed effort deflected narrowly over the bar.
Olise would enter the fray at half-time but was forced to withdraw once more after 10 minutes of second-half action, Matheus França his replacement.
The opening stages of the second-half passed without much further incident, although Palace did come close on one occasion when a cute França pass found Lerma inside the box, whose lay-off to Ayew allowed the Ghana forward to test Verbruggen from a tight angle.
Then, with 18 minutes remaining, a lifeline for Palace: Muñoz retrieved a ball spinning out of play and laid off towards Joachim Andersen, whose sweetly struck cross was glanced into the top corner by Jean-Philippe Mateta.
What followed was the Eagles’ best spell of the match as their passing sharpened and several threatening crosses were floated into the box, França denied by Verbruggen after racing onto one direct pass forwards.
But the match was put out of sight with five minutes remaining when João Pedro linked up with Danny Welbeck to bend the ball around Henderson and seal three points for Brighton.