Brighton & Hove Albion 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Dec 28, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

Tottenham Hotspur‘s top-four ambitions suffered a blow as they lost 4-2 at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Thursday with only a late rally saving them from their heaviest defeat since Ange Postecoglou became manager.

Victory would have put injury-hit Spurs above Manchester City into fourth spot but they were mauled on the south coast as a Brighton side also missing key players ran riot.

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A powerful early strike by Josh Hinshelwood and Joao Pedro‘s penalty gave the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at half-time as Tottenham struggled to deal with Brighton’s intensity.

The visitors responded in the second half with Richarlison having a goal disallowed but when halftime substitute Pervis Estupinan sent a thunderbolt past Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario and Joao Pedro netted a second penalty the game seemed over.

However, when Tottenham’s late substitute Alejo Veliz fired home from close range in the 75th minute and Ben Davies scored with a header a miraculous comeback suddenly looked possible.

Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hit the post for Spurs in stoppage time as Brighton looked nervy, but they held on to move into eighth place in the table on 30 points while Tottenham remain fifth on 36, a point off the top four.

The final scoreline hardly did justice to a chaotic match in which Tottenham were off the pace for long periods but showed admirable spirit to emerge with their pride intact.

For Brighton, without the likes of winger Kaoru Mitoma, Tariq Lamptey, Solly March and Julio Enciso, they snapped a three-match winless sequence.

Brighton players celebrate after scoring a goal against Tottenham in the Premier League.

Tottenham’s defensive problems, made worse by centre-back Cristian Romero having been added to their injury list, were exposed by Brighton as the hosts dominated the first half.

Vicario had already made two saves before Hinshelwood was played in by Joao Pedro on the edge of the area and thumped an unstoppable shot high into the net.

Brighton almost doubled their lead when Jan Paul van Hecke’s header hit the post and as the ball rebounded towards Danny Welbeck the striker was pulled back by Dejan Kulusevski with a penalty being awarded after a VAR check.

Joao Pedro rolled the 23rd-minute spot kick past Vicario to put Brighton in command, although Richarlison nearly responded just before half-time with a shot that kissed the post.

Spurs looked brighter after the break and wasted several chances before Richarlison netted, only to have his joy cut short as VAR showed he was offside.

Estupinan made it 3-0 to Brighton with a sensational strike from outside the area before Tottenham substitute Giovani Lo Celso conceded a penalty that was dispatched by Joao Pedro.

A raft of substitutions revived Spurs with Bryan Gil and Veliz adding some energy to the visitors and the latter celebrated wildly as he slotted his first goal for the club.

Davies headed in from close range and Tottenham then had numerous chances to try to grab an unlikely point.

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