Brighton fails to take top spot but snatches last-gasp draw at Palace

Brighton's Neal Maupay equalised with the final kick of the game to earn a 1-1 draw at a rocking Selhurst Park on Monday.

Brighton's Neal Maupay celebrates after scoring the late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London on Monday.   -  AP

Brighton and Hove Albion missed out on top spot in the Premier League table but had the last laugh at arch-rival 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 its 120-year history but defeat loomed after it 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, its fans were ecstatic as the final whistle sounded, seconds after Maupay's equaliser.

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Brighton remained in sixth spot with 13 points, one behind leader Liverpool, while Palace, who was the better side and deserved a win, is 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."

Brighton's coach Graham Potter said that the draw felt like a win. "When you're 1-0 down going into the 96th minute and you score it feels like a win," he said.

"It's just a point but it's a well-earned point. It was a tight game. Nothing too much in it and we pushed in the second half and it's an amazing feeling to get the equaliser."

Brighton struggled to match Palace's intensity for most of the night as the host continued to show encouraging signs of progress under new boss Patrick Vieira.

"We didn't control that as well as we'd like. But there's a resilience, belief and character there. I didn't think it was a one-sided affair. We deserved a point more than Palace did when they won 2-1 last time. That's 13 points from six games, a good start but we can improve," Potter said.

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.

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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.

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."

"We are improving. We're getting stronger. The first few games we played against Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, we managed to create chances. We deserve to have more points so far. We're in a good process."

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