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Brighton fail to take top spot but snatch last-gasp draw at Crystal Palace

Victory would have seen Brighton reach the summit of England's top flight for the first time in their 120-year history but defeat loomed after they trailed to Wilfried Zaha's penalty on the stroke of halftime.

Brighton & Hove Albion missed out on top spot in the Premier League table but had the last laugh at arch-rivals Crystal Palace when Neal Maupay equalised with the final kick of the game to earn a 1-1 draw at a rocking Selhurst Park on Monday.

Victory would have seen Brighton reach the summit of England’s top flight for the first time in their 120-year history but defeat loomed after they trailed to Wilfried Zaha’s penalty on the stroke of halftime.

Palace’s fans were already celebrating in the fifth minute of stoppage time when a goal kick by Palace keeper Vicente Guaita was volleyed back into the path of Maupay who finished with a deft lob.

While the point was not enough to take Brighton above Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton, their fans were ecstatic as the final whistle sounded, seconds after Maupay’s equaliser. Brighton remained in sixth spot with 13 points, one behind leaders Liverpool, while Palace, who were the better side and deserved a win, are 15th with six points.

“It’s been a tough game. I thought Palace played well and we weren’t so good today but the resilience of the team was spot on,” Brighton saviour Maupay said. “In the end we scored so we are definitely happy with this point tonight.”The whole game we didn’t have much to work with for the forwards but sometimes one chance is all it takes to score and get something from the game.”Graham Potter’s Brighton struggled to match Palace’s intensity for most of the night as the hosts continued to show encouraging signs of progress under new boss Patrick Vieira.

Palace dominated the early stages in a crackling atmosphere in south-east London although chances were hard to come by.Zaha and Joachim Andersen combined to set up former Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard but his shot was easily saved by Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez.

Brighton had half-chances, with Leandro Trossard shooting into the side-netting and Danny Welbeck almost getting on the end of a long clearance, but Palace struck just before halftime.Conor Gallagher was nudged by Brighton’s Spanish defender Marc Cucurella as he burst into the box and was then clearly body-checked by Trossard, and referee Andre Marriner pointed to the penalty spot.

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Zaha stepped up to whip his penalty low into the corner for his 49th Premier League goal for Palace.Palace continued to play with confidence after the break and Jordan Ayew wasted a glorious chance to double the lead with around 10 minutes remaining as he shot wide having been played through on goal. It was a miss that proved costly.

Marriner was on the verge of blowing the fulltime whistle when Guaita’s poor goal kick was volleyed straight back over everyone by Brighton defender Joel Veltman and as Palace’s defence froze, Maupay burst clear to deny Vieira his second league win since taking over at Selhurst Park.”Conceding in the last kick of the game is difficult to accept,” Vieira said. “It was a good team effort and until the last kick it was in our hands.”

 

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