Acrobatic Jahanbakhsh gives Lampard Blues
Brighton 1 Chelsea 1
Brighton finally took a league point from Chelsea at the 10th attempt thanks to a spectacular late equaliser from substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
The visitors seemed to be cruising to victory after their captain Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first goal of the 2020s after just 10 minutes. But Jahanbakhsh, who scored his first Brighton goal to open the scoring in the 2-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday, did it again with a stunning overhead volley six minutes from time.
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Brighton boss Graham Potter was amused by suggestions that the Iranian's strike was the goal of the decade.
"So far, yes!" he said. "A great strike, really pleased for him. He's had a good week." The goal, Potter admitted, probably ends talk of Jahanbakhsh going out on loan after what had been an underwhelming 18 months.
"I didn't predict that quality of strike but it was a fantastic goal and everyone is delighted for him," he said. "He hasn't been involved as much as he would like but he has worked hard, he has improved and he is getting his chance."
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was less inclined to admire what he felt should have been little more than a consolation goal in a victory for his team, who remain fourth in the table. "It was an incredible equaliser, but it is two points dropped," he said. "In the first half if we are ruthless then the game is out of sight. The Christmas period has probably been a [microcosm] of our season."
Lampard disappointment at the result was easy to understand after Chelsea went ahead, Azpilicueta scoring from close range when Brighton failed to deal with a corner and allowed Kurt Zouma to head across goal. The hosts then lost ever-present defender Dan Burn to a fractured clavicle that will sideline him for up to eight weeks after a collision with Reece James.
And they were lucky not to go 2-0 down after 27 minutes when Tammy Abraham caught Davy Propper in possession and with options to right and left, he elected to shoot, his shot blocked by Adam Webster.
Christian Pulisic might have had a hat-trick either side of half-time but Potter's introduction of Aaron Connolly at the interval gave defenders more to think about. It took an excellent save from Kepa Arrizabalaga to deny the Irish striker but the goalkeeper could only watch as the Iranian's overhead kick sailed past him.
"The level of courage from the players was amazing," Potter said. "You are going toe to toe with a top team and if you make a mistake they will punish you. The performance was one I am really proud of." (© Daily Telegraph, London)