Graham Potter was experiencing remote management for the first time with Brighton and Hove Albion, but even when he is away his players continue to display a propensity for late goals.
Danny Welbeck’s equaliser was the eighth time Brighton had scored in the final 10 minutes of a Premier League match this season, as Leicester’s defensive weaknesses resurfaced. Potter was absent after testing positive for coronavirus, but would have been jumping around his living room after substitute Welbeck’s 82nd-minute header finally rewarded Brighton’s pressure.
Leicester were back at the scene of Wednesday’s astonishing defeat by Tottenham, when they conceded two goals in 80 seconds deep into added time, and this was another frustrating day for Brendan Rodgers, whose players were booed off.
Rodgers described the Spurs defeat as an experience of the “university of adversity” for his squad, which was missing nine players through injury. Here was more late drama. Brighton have now lost just one of their 11 league away games.
“Graham had a direct feed of the game at his house and felt well enough to be a part of it,” Bjorn Hamberg, one of Potter’s assistants who was in charge at the ground, said. “He was always in touch with the coaches and if he wanted to change anything, I knew about it within 10 seconds. He certainly played his part. It was another comeback. Even when we go a goal behind, we keep working for each other and never give up. We never feel sorry for ourselves.”
Brighton were typically well-organised and confident in possession. There are few teams in the Premier League who appear so comfortable passing their way out from the back, though the accusations of a lack of ruthlessness at the other end will never go away.
In a first half of few opportunities, Leicester’s influential James Maddison struck a free-kick into the side-netting and Ademola Lookman was denied from close range by Robert Sanchez.
Leicester’s injury problems remain a major issue, with Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana and Ricardo Pereira among those out, while Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are away with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.
They did not appear to be struggling with any hangover after the Tottenham debacle. The returning James Justin was outstanding, and Leicester were ahead just 28 seconds into the second half. Harvey Barnes’s shot was saved by Sanchez, but striker Patson Daka swept the loose ball home from five yards. As Brighton responded, Alexis Mac Allister lifted the ball over from an unmarked position, and Hamberg introduced Tariq Lamptey and Welbeck to add a cutting edge.
The substitutes combined 13 minutes from time, with Welbeck heading Lamptey’s cross straight at Kasper Schmeichel. But Welbeck provided the crucial contribution in the 82nd minute, rising above Justin to power Neal Maupay’s cross in off a post. Dan Burn then had a header cleared off the line, and Schmeichel produced a brilliant one-handed save to deny Leandro Trossard.
The boos at full time underlined how frustration is growing over Leicester’s inconsistent season. “When you have the players out we have, it brings a different dynamic to the team,” Rodgers admitted.
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