Six things we learned from Cardiff City v Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton suffered a second successive Premier League defeat when they lost 2-1 at Cardiff yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.
Hard to take
The defeat was hard to take for Brighton after they felt a couple of key decisions went against them.
Dale Stephens' red card left Brighton to play for an hour with ten men - and the majority of fans felt the decision was harsh.
What infuriated the Seagulls more was Sol Bamba's last-minute winner. The defender was in an offside position before he fired home, after the ball had come back off the post and bar.
That came after Brighton had defended resolutely throughout the second half and limited the number of opportunities Cardiff had.
They say decisions even themselves out over a season, so Brighton will hope some luck comes their way in the coming weeks.
Red card controversy
Dale Stephens' red card just past the half-hour mark was a real talking point at half-time.
Albion's midfielder was sent off for a full-blooded challenge on Cardiff left-back Greg Cunningham, who turned away from the tackle as Stephens went in.
The majority of views on social media felt it was a harsh dismissal - and Sky Sports pundits Alex Scott and Liam Rosenior thought the same.
Stephens had already won the ball in one tackle, before he got to the ball before Cunningham but then slid in on the Cardiff full-back with his studs raised. Although he did not fully catch Cunningham, referee Martin Atkinson deemed the tackle to be reckless and sent Stephens off.
It was Albion's first red card of the season and third since they were promoted into the Premier League in 2017.
Long throw weapon
Cardiff bombarded Albion's box with long throws during the game but the majority seemed to meet the head of Brighton centre-back Shane Duffy.
Iceland midfielder Aron Gunnarsson's long throws are a key weapon for the Bluebirds and the Seagulls were more than up to the task until the last minute.
Gunnarsson's throw caused havoc in the penalty area, with Bamba's overhead kick coming off the post and Callum Paterson's shot deflected on to the bar before Bamba rifled home the winner.
It was a throw-back - excuse the pun - to the days when Stoke used Rory Delap's long throws as key part of their armoury.
Albion were in control and looked comfortable until Cardiff equalised just before the half-hour mark.
Kadeem Harris appeared to have lost an opportunity when he ran down the right, rather than letting fly with a shot - with Cardiff supporters murmuring their discontent at that choice.
However Harris's cross took a wicked deflection off Gaetan Bong as the Albion defender looked to cut it out and the ball looped up for Callum Paterson to nod home from a couple of yards.
If luck was against Albion then, it was on the Seagulls' side on the hour. Harris cut in from the right and smashed a left-footed strike against the bar with Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan beaten.
Dunk celebrates England call-up
Lewis Dunk celebrated his call-up into the England squad by scoring for the second successive Premier League match.
The 26-year-old headed Albion's goal in the 3-1 defeat at Everton last week and nodded home an inch perfect Solly March free kick to put Brighton 1-0 ahead at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Dunk, who has now made more than 240 appearances for the Seagulls, was a late call-up to the last England squad for Nations League matches with Croatia and Spain but was an unused substitute in both.
He was named in Gareth Southgate's 28-man squad for a friendly with the United States and Nations League match with Croatia last week.
The friendly with the United States on Thursday will perhaps give Dunk the opportunity to make his Three Lions debut - and become the first Albion player to represent England since 1982.
Steady if unspectacular start
Albion remained on 14 points after the defeat to Cardiff but are still six points clear of the bottom three.
The 1-0 wins over West Ham, Wolves and Newcastle last month has given them a bit of breathing space but it's fair to say the Seagulls haven't hit top gear yet this season.
You feel there's more to come and Chris Hughton will hope the defeat to Cardiff will spur the side on after the international break.
With Pascal Gross, Davy Propper, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia to come back into the squad, there's no reason why Brighton can't maintain - and increase - the gap they have to the bottom three in the weeks to come.
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