Burnley 1-2 Brighton: Graham Potter makes Shane Duffy admission after comeback victory
Albion boss Graham Potter praised the spirit of his players and the impact of his substitutes after Brighton recorded a comeback 2-1 win at Burnley.
Brighton made a winning start to their Premier League campaign as late goals from Neal Maupay and Alexis Mac Allister saw them come from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Burnley took the lead via a second-minute James Tarkowski header, which stood after a VAR check amid Brighton claims that the defender had fouled Maupay, and the Clarets went on to rattle the woodwork twice before half-time, Johann Berg Gudmundsson hitting the post and Ben Mee the bar.
The visitors subsequently capitalised on those near-misses after the break as two substitutes helped them turn things around shortly after entering the fray, Jakub Moder teeing up Maupay’s equaliser in the 73rd minute and Mac Allister then netting the winner five minutes later.
"We have had a challenging pre-season and we lost Joel (Veltman) yesterday," said Potter. "We got off to a bad start and that's the last thing you want with full house and returning crowds. We then had luck because we were fortunate to go in 1-0 but you are better to be lucky than good sometimes.
"The players were fantastic. It was important the guys were finishing the game were ready and influence the game and they did. The team performance got better. We attacked better controlled it. You still have to defend your box here and fight which we did. In the end, two really good goals and that was enough to get the three points."
It was also a special day for defender Shane Duffy who impressed on his return to the side following a difficult loan at Celtic last season.
"I thought he was immense," said Potter. "He has been fantastic since he came back. His attitude and professionalism, his approach to the team and group. He has been really good."
The first competitive match at the ground with no restriction on attendance since March 2020 saw plenty of noise generated by the crowd as kick-off approached – including some boos as players took the knee, as well as applause.
Then Burnley fans were cheering within moments of the contest getting under way after Tarkowski sent Ashley Westwood’s corner past Robert Sanchez.
Brighton protested that Tarkowski had fouled Maupay before heading in, the pair having collided as the Burnley defender moved towards the goal and Maupay ended up on the turf, but the effort was allowed to stand following a VAR check.
The hosts subsequently picked up two bookings in quick succession, with yellow cards being shown to Gudmundsson for a challenge on Yves Bissouma, and Tarkowski after another coming-together with Maupay, which resulted in a free-kick that Solly March sent into Nick Pope’s arms.
Gudmundsson then almost made it 2-0 in the 19th minute when his low strike come back off the post.
Another Tarkowski-Maupay challenge led to a booking for the Brighton striker, before Jay Rodriguez’s shot brought a save out of Sanchez.
Burnley then went close to doubling their lead again in the 36th minute as skipper Mee headed against the bar and the ball bounced down on the line, with Tarkowski firing over on the follow-up.
At the other end, Shane Duffy headed over and Pope had little trouble catching an acrobatic attempt by Maupay.
The opening stages of the second half saw a Maupay shot deflect off-target and Gudmundsson curl a free-kick wide.
Rodriguez going down in the box under the attentions of Duffy sparked penalty calls from Burnley that were waved away by referee David Coote, and Leandro Trossard then lofted an attempt wide of Pope’s goal just prior to the hour mark.
After Chris Wood saw a shot deflect behind, Brighton boss Graham Potter made a change by bringing on Moder for Steven Alzate – and the substitute had a near immediate impact, sending a cross in from the right that the sliding Maupay converted to draw things level.
Moments later, Potter then saw another substitution swiftly pay off as his side grabbed the lead, with Mac Allister, sent on for Trossard soon after the equaliser, slotting past Pope from Pascal Gross’ delivery.
Burnley subsequently pushed for a leveller in vain, while a late Gross attempt looked like it could be heading in before Tarkowski made the clearance.
Albion: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, Duffy, Gross, Bissouma, Alzate (Moder 70), Mwepu (Lallana 45), Trossard (Mac Allister 77), Maupay, March. Subs: Steele, Karbownik, Zeqiri, Andone, Caicedo, Richards.