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Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Set-piece woes haunt the Seagulls

  • Brighton & Hove Albion hosted Greek side AEK Athens in the first-ever European fixture in the club’s history at the Amex Stadium.
  • The first half was a seesaw as goals from Djibril Sidibé, João Pedro and Mijat Gaćinović meant AEK went into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
  • Pedro got Brighton back into the lead with another penalty, however, the substitutes Ponce and Eliasson combined to score and give AEK a memorable victory

Brighton vs AEK: Timeline

11′ – Hajisafi delivers a delightful out-swinging corner, Sidibé who is almost near the penalty spot, powers in a header to give AEK the lead against the run of play.

29′ – Var intervenes after Pedro is booked for diving, the referee goes to the monitor and awards a penalty to Albion.

30′ – Joao Pedro writes his name into Brighton folklore forever, as he drives his penalty into the bottom corner, becoming Brighton’s first-ever European goalscorer.

40′ – Levi García puts in a free-kick into a dangerous area and Mijat Gaćinović bundles in from close range after the Seagull defenders failed to clear.

67′ – Following another VAR intervention, Pedro wins the second penalty of the game, which he emphatically converted to equalize.

84′ – The substitutes make a telling impact! Ezequiel Ponce drives forward to latch onto a pass from Niclas Eliasson after AEK won the ball in midfield.

Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Athenians seize 3-2 win
Photo by Icon Sport

The Big Stat

Brighton & Hove Albion, a club founded in 1901, were making their debut in a European competition, 112 years after their inception.

Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Star Man

João Pedro (Brighton) – 8.50

It was fitting that Brighton’s record signing scored their first-ever goal in Europe. Playing as a number nine, the Brazil international floated around the pitch with effortless ease. He Dropped to receive the ball, played passes, drove at defenders and made dangerous runs; basically showing his whole repertoire and scoring two goals.

Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Athenians seize 3-2 win
Photo by Icon Sport

Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Seagulls struggle at the back

Brighton player ratings

Jason Steele 5/10: Couldn’t command the box and should have done better for the third goal.

James Milner 5/10: Struggled against the pace of AEK attackers, and subbed off early due to injury.

Van Hecke 6/10: Strode out with the ball convincingly, a bit passive in defending balls into the box.

Igor Julio 5/10: Confident on the ball but guilty at the set-pieces which led to the AEK goals.

Pervis Estupiñán 5.5/10: Made some good overlapping and underlapping runs, and helped defend counterattacks with his pace.

Solly March 6/10: Stretched AEK defence by holding the width but couldn’t find the final pass.

Billy Gilmour 6/10: Controlled in possession, and dictated the game with sharp passes, but lacked physicality at times.

Pascal Groß 6/10: Metronome at the base of midfield, played some lovely line-breaking passes but couldn’t contribute enough defensively.

Kaoru Mitoma 6/10: Caused terror down the left flank with his pace, but with no real end product.

Ansu Fati 6.5/10: Floated across the pitch, and pulled off some lovely flicks to release his teammates.

João Pedro 8.5/10: Slick, silky and superbly effective with his quick feet. Slotted both penalties that he won himself expertly to etch his name in Brighton’s history.

Tariq Lamptey (sub) 5.5/10: Injected pace from the right-back role.

Dani Welbeck (sub): N/A

Facundo Buonanotte (sub): N/A

Simon Adingra (sub): N/A

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Photo by Icon Sport

Adamant Athenians fight till the death

AEK player ratings

Cican Stanković 6.5/10: Made some good saves to keep his side in the game, not much he could do about the penalties.

Djibril Sidibé 7/10: Decent defensively, but a dynamic threat going forward, got his goal with a thumping header.

Damian Szymański 5.5/10: Conceded a penalty, solid otherwise, with and without the ball.

Gerasimos Mitoglou 6/10: A battling performance at the back as he blocked, intercepted and put his body on the line.

Ehsan Hajisafi 6.5/10: A great assist, and a threat down the left flank until being substituted early for injury.

Jens Jønsson 7/10: Patrolled the middle of the pitch with lots of energy.

Mijat Gaćinović 7/10: Scored a scrappy goal but looked neat and clean on possession.

Sergio Araujo 6.5/10: Put in a shift to block passing lanes and prevent Brighton from playing out.

Orbelín Pineda 6/10: Struggled against some slick play from the Seagulls.

Nordin Amrabat 6.5/10: Battled hard against skilful Albion midfielders and disrupted penetrative passes.

Levi García 6.5/10: Fighting display upfront, gave it all both offensively and defensively

Milad Mohammadi (sub) 6/10: Added some extra legs in the left-back position.

Ezequiel Ponce (sub) 7/10: Injected energy and dynamism and got the goal to put his side into the lead.

Steven Zuber (sub) 5.5/10: Couldn’t get into the game.

Niclas Eliasson (sub) 6.5/10: Assisted the decisive goal.

Petros Mantalos (sub) 5.5/10: Helped shore up the midfield.

Brighton vs AEK player ratings: Athenians seize 3-2 win
Photo by Icon Sport

The Final Word

This was supposed to be Brighton’s historic night as they searched for a dream debut in UEL. This loss leaves them needing a major push if they are to qualify from this group of death consisting of Ajax and Marseille.

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