The English Premier League teams may have their ups and downs in the UEFA Champions League of late, with Manchester United and Newcastle United eliminated, but their counterparts of Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and Liverpool certainly did not disappoint in the second-tiered UEFA Europa League. The Seagulls, Hammers and Reds finished their group as winners in last night’s final round of group games, and Brighton & Hove Albion’s result is certainly the most amazing of all, since they overcame Olympique de Marseille from the French Ligue 1 1-0 at home.
João Pedro the Hero for Brighton & Hove Albion
Coming into the game at Falmer Stadium, Olympique de Marseille were leading Group B with 11 points as compared to Brighton & Hove Albion‘s 10, and a draw would have been sufficient for the former to win the group and guarantee an automatic qualification to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League. Nevertheless, the stubborn Seagulls did not let that scenario become a reality, as they scored a late winner two minutes the added time was given in the second half, thanks to João Pedro’s effort.
Brighton & Hove Albion patiently broke down Marseille’s defence before their roaring home fans, and the 22-year-old Pedro was the receiving of the ball off a few brilliant forward passes. He then steadied himself and beat Pau López by finding the top left corner for the only goal of the game. The all-important victory gave Brighton & Hove Albion 13 points in six matches in the European club football competition, thus leapfrogging their visitors yesterday as the winners of Group B as a result.
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De Zerbi and Pedro on Brighton & Hove Albion’s Famous Victory
44-year-old head coach of Brighton & Hove Albion had this to say during the post-match conference on their 1-0 win over Marseille: “I think this is the best moment in my time [At Brighton]. I’ve lost my voice, I’ve lost everything. It was an amazing game, we played amazing football and we deserved to reach the top of the table and we deserved to win. We could have scored more goals but we are very happy and we are very proud for the club, for Brighton, for our fans, for our club, for our players, for the people who work inside of the club.”