Brighton fought back from conceding a first-minute goal to beat struggling Leicester City in a seven-goal thriller at the Amex.
Leicester, bottom of the Premier League, scored after only 51 seconds when Kelechi Iheanacho finished from Patson Daka’s pull-back from the left.
However, the lead only lasted eight minutes before Solly March’s header deflected into the net off Leicester defender Luke Thomas.
Brighton went ahead in the 15th minute, capitalising on a loose pass from James Maddison with Moises Caicedo scoring after being set up by Enock Mwepu.
But in a frantic first half, Leicester scored again after 32 minutes. Youri Tielemans, deep inside his own half, played a ball over the top of the Brighton defence, Daka held off Lewis Dunk’s challenge and slotted the ball past Robert Sanchez for 2-2.
Alexis Mac Allister thought he had restored the Seagulls’ lead with a spectacular strike from 30 yards but, after a video assistant referee check that lasted more than four minutes, the goal was eventually ruled out for offside.
It did not prove to be crucial as Leandro Trossard scored Brighton’s third from Pascal Gross’ pass, with Trossard then winning a penalty, which Mac Allister converted for the fourth.
Fittingly, the last say went to Argentina midfielder Mac Allister who curled in an excellent 25-yard free-kick in injury time for his second goal and Brighton’s fifth.
The result maintains Brighton’s excellent start to the season and they are fourth in the Premier League, while Leicester, with just one point from six matches, are three points adrift at the foot of the table.
VAR is involved again
It has been a weekend full of controversial VAR decisions, with Newcastle United and West Ham furious after being denied goals against Crystal Palace and Chelsea respectively on Saturday.
While the match at the Amex was taking place, it was announced the Premier League is to review controversial decisions in those matches with referees’ body PGMOL as a matter of priority.
VAR was heavily involved at the Amex, with a lengthy delay to decide whether to allow Mac Allister’s superb strike in the second half which, if given, would have been one of the goals of the season.
Brighton’s free-kick had been played into the penalty area with Mwepu trying an acrobatic overhead kick, although he failed to make contact with the ball and Leicester’s James Justin partially headed clear before Mac Allister smashed the ball into the top corner.
But after the lengthy stoppage, referee Tony Harrington checked a pitchside monitor and judged that Mwepu, who was offside, had interfered with play.
Luckily for Mac Allister, he still managed to get on the scoresheet twice. The first was a penalty down the middle after superb skill from Trossard had drawn a foul inside the penalty area from Wilfred Ndidi, before a stunning curling free-kick with the last action of the match.
Worrying times for Leicester
Leicester, Premier League champions in 2015-16, have finished in the top 10 in all of the past five seasons, narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
In May, they played in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League, but Foxes fans will be deeply concerned that they will face a relegation battle this season.
Earlier this week, manager Brendan Rodgers had expressed his frustration at the club’s business during the summer transfer window, which saw them lose both goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and central defender Wesley Fofana.
Rodgers made two changes from the 11 that began the 1-0 loss against Manchester United on Thursday with Daka and Iheanacho replacing Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Jamie Vardy.
The decision instantly paid off as the visitors went ahead with their first attack. Tielemans dispossessed March, Harvey Barnes played it wide to Daka and his cross was met by Iheanacho for the game’s first goal.
But Rodgers will be furious at his side’s defending throughout the match.
An unmarked March headed against the unsuspecting Thomas for Brighton’s first goal, before Maddison’s error led to the second.
Daka scored to make it 2-2 and give Leicester hope of picking up their first win of the season. But the visitors were overwhelmed by an excellent Brighton performance in the second half and the three goals the Foxes conceded meant it was their heaviest defeat of the campaign.
Brighton & Hove Albion
- 7MarchSubstituted forLampteyat 90+3′minutes
- 10Mac AllisterBooked at 12mins
- 25CaicedoSubstituted forGilmourat 90+3′minutes
- 11TrossardSubstituted forEstupiñánat 89′minutes
- 8MwepuSubstituted forUndavat 84′minutes
- 29van Hecke
- 33ThomasBooked at 3mins
- 42SoumaréSubstituted forDewsbury-Hallat 72′minutes
- 8TielemansSubstituted forAmarteyat 72′minutes
- 7BarnesSubstituted forCastagneat 45′minutes
- 14IheanachoSubstituted forVardyat 72′minutes
- Tony Harrington
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 5, Leicester City 2.
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 5, Leicester City 2.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 5, Leicester City 2. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Danny Welbeck (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Daniel Amartey (Leicester City).
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Tariq Lamptey replaces Solly March.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Billy Gilmour replaces Moisés Caicedo.
Offside, Leicester City. James Maddison tries a through ball, but Timothy Castagne is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Moisés Caicedo (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Pervis Estupiñán replaces Leandro Trossard.
Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Leandro Trossard.
Attempt saved. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Deniz Undav.
Attempt saved. Patson Daka (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Justin with a cross.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Deniz Undav replaces Enock Mwepu.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Danny Ward.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by James Maddison.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Daniel Amartey.