Brighton stun Crystal Palace in 2-1 defeat

Anthony Knockaert scores for Brighton
Anthony Knockaert scores for Brighton

Anthony Knockaert produced a stunning strike that even had Brighton team-mate Glenn Murray amazed to win it at Selhurst Park.

The winger, who could have been sent off for a dangerous tackle on Eagles skipper Luka Milivojevic broke Palace hearts with his fifth goal of the season.

Ans as the ball flew into the back of the net off the post, Seagulls striker Murray in total shock simply put his hands over his face in disbelief.

The French ace’s stunner made it back-to-back wins for Albion after Milivojevic’s penalty had chalked off Murray’s opener.

But Palace fans will be moaning that Knockaert should have walked long before any of the goals went in for a nasty challenge on Milivojevic inside the first minute.

Luckily for the Seagulls, he escaped with only a yellow and went on to help his side move up to 33 points – level with Palace – and further away from relegation danger.

Cynics do not consider this a proper derby given the rivalry only began in the 1970’s due to a feud between Terry Venables and Alan Mullery.

But El Tel and Mullers would have enjoyed just how feisty this game was, putting traditional derbies to shame with its electric atmosphere.

Knockaert set the tone straight away with a lunge on Milivojevic which caught the Serbian in the unmentionables, leaving him writhing in agony.

The ex-Leicester winger was booked and could consider himself lucky not to receive a red in what was the first of a few challenges close to the bone.

Brighton had suffered a blow in the warm-up as Florin Andone pulled up with a thigh injury.

Yet it was his replacement Murray, who was due to be dropped to the bench after a dip in form, who put Albion in front.

Lewis Dunk, taunted by the home fans for his Brighton allegiance, smashed a 70-yard punt down the pitch which flew past James Tomkins with the help of a strong breeze.

It found its way to Murray who did what he does best to fire clinically into the far corner from a tight angle for his 11th league goal of the season.

It was also his 100th league goal for Albion, becoming the second player to achieve that feat after Tommy Cook, who managed it in the pre-war era along with hitting 20,000 runs for Sussex.

Brighton felt they should have had a spot-kick of their own when Shane Duffy was wrestled to the ground by Scott Dann and VAR may well have convinced Craig Pawson to give it were it available.

Palace stepped it up but were repelled by the brilliant Dunk, who had TWO last-ditch blocks to deny Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi from close range.

Roy Hodgson’s side did grab a leveller just after the break-through when Davy Propper brought down Andros Townsend with a foolish foul on the edge of the box.

Milivojevic stepped up and the result was a foregone conclusion as he coolly netted his 17th Premier League penalty – a remarkable NINE more than any other player since his debut in February 2017.

Eagles fans expected their side to drive on for the victory from there.

But they were left stunned by another brilliant strike as Knockaert controlled Dale Stephens’ long ball out wide, cut in and fired exquisitely into the top corner from 22 yards.

It was a breathtaking strike worthy of winning any game – though Palace fans will claim he should not have been on the pitch.

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