Six things we learned from Brighton & Hove Albion v Derby

Anthony Knockaert celebrates his goal with Beram Kayal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Anthony Knockaert celebrates his goal with Beram Kayal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory against Derby County yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.

In the last eight again

For the second successive season, Albion are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and will now be hoping for a bit of luck in the draw.

It is just the fourth time in the Seagulls' history they have got to the last eight and Albion's best ever run in the cup was in 1983 when they reached the final.

Brighton exited the competition away to Manchester United last year and will now meet one of Watford, Millwall, Manchester City, Bristol City or Wolves, Doncaster or Crystal Palace, Swansea or Brentford, or Chelsea or Manchester United this year.

The draw for the quarter-finals will be made on Monday evening after Chelsea's last-eight tie with Manchester United.

After their struggles in the Premier League so far in 2019, reaching the quarter-finals will hopefully give Albion some confidence and momentum to take into the rest of the season.

Star of the show

Yves Bissouma again starred in the middle of the park for Brighton.

The Mali international has impressed fans since joining from Lille last summer. He scored his first Brighton goal in the win at Bournemouth in the third round and ended up with two assists against Derby.

He got Albion on the front foot with his runs forward from midfield and crossed for Anthony Knockaert to put Albion ahead on 33 minutes.

The second came after a piece of brilliant skill from Bissouma, who side-stepped Tom Huddlestone and curled a 20-yard effort against a post before Jurgen Locadia tapped home the rebound.

The next challenge for Bissouma is to produce these type of performances on a regular basis as the 22-year-old has a ton of potential.

A sweet finish

Anthony Knockaert scored with a brilliant finish to give Albion the lead against Derby.

The French winger has not started in the Premier League since the middle of December but has taken his chance and impressed in the FA Cup.

Knockaert opened the scoring and provided an assist in the 3-1 win at Bournemouth in the third round and got the opener against Derby with a sublime right-footed finish from Yves Bissouma's low cross.

It was Knockaert's third goal of the season and it drew praise from Albion legend Bobby Zamora, who tweeted: "What a finish Knockaert."

Knockaert has done himself no harm as he bids to get himself back into Chris Hughton's starting line-up for Premier League games.

VAR in action

There were a couple of incidents where VAR was used to check referee David Coote had got the original decision correct.

The first was when Harry Wilson caught Beram Kayal with a slightly high foot, although the challenge was not malicious.

Wilson was booked but there was then a short delay as Coote waited for VAR to review the incident to make sure it was not a red as Derby fans sang a negatively about VAR.

Later in the first half, Jurgen Locadia tapped home Brighton's second with Derby defender Fikayo Tomori appealing for offside. Replays showed the Albion frontman was onside and the goal stood.

With incidents like that, fans will have no arguments or complaints with VAR as neither decision took too long. It's when fans are sitting around waiting for a minute or two that frustrates spectators.

One question mark over VAR this season is it has not been in used in every game of the FA Cup. Had it been used at West Brom in Albion's fourth round replay, the Seagulls might not have even been in action yesterday. They would have been reduced to ten men in the first half at the Hawthorns as Florin Andone was retrospectively banned after an incident in the first half - and the striker went on to score Brighton's equaliser in that game.

Back on the scoresheet

Jurgen Locadia scored for the first time since December as he netted his third goal of the season.

Locadia scored in back-to-back Premier League matches against Arsenal and Everton at the start of an extended run in the team but had not found the back of the net in nine matches.

His goal will give him confidence to take into the run-in, although the forward limped off late on and Seagulls manager Chris Hughton said the injury 'didn't look good'.

With Florin Andone still suspended for Albion's next league match at Leicester in ten days, Hughton will hope Locadia is fit for the game as otherwise Glenn Murray will be the Seagulls' only fit striker for the match.

Rare Cole goal ensures nervy finish

Former England international Ashley Cole scored his first goal in England for six and a half years at the Amex.

The 38-year-old joined the Rams on a short-term deal last month after spells at Roma and LA Galaxy since leaving Chelsea.

Cole went on at the break for Derby, who trailed 2-0 at half-time at the Amex.

The Rams were more solid defensively down his side in the second half and the left-back headed home Dan Burn's clearance to make it 2-1 with eight minutes to go.

Derby then pressed forward for an equaliser to take the match into extra-time but Albion held firm to reach the quarter-finals for the second successive season.

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