Chelsea 1-2 Brighton: Welbeck & Enciso seal comeback to ruin Lampard’s Stamford Bridge return
Chelsea suffered a 2-1 loss to Brighton to make it three defeats from three to begin Frank Lampard’s caretaker reign.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side bounced back to produce a dominant performance to inflict more misery on Chelsea, who suffered their third consecutive defeat in all competitions.
Conor Gallagher put Chelsea ahead after 13 minutes with a deflected strike, but the hosts went into the interval level after substitute Danny Welbeck headed Brighton level from close range three minutes prior to the break.
Another substitute, Julio Enciso scored the winner with 21 minutes to play with an incredible hit from distance into the top corner to seal all three points.
After making six changes to the defeat at Real Madrid, Chelsea and in particular Mykhailo Mudryk started brightly in west London. He drew an early foul and yellow card for Joel Veltman after racing away on the left hand side after just four minutes.
Mudryk almost found Raheem Sterling from close range for the game’s opener, but his fizzed cross was well cleared by Lewis Dunk.
Brighton grew into the game and should’ve been ahead after nine minutes. Roberto De Zerbi’s side had two chances in quick succession: Alexis Mac Allister fired wide from close range, before Evan Ferguson’s effort beat Kepa Arrizabalaga but cannoned back off the woodwork.
It was Chelsea who ended their goal drought after more than 390 minutes of football, their first goal since March 18. Mudryk’s positive run ended with Gallagher having his effort deflected by Dunk and looping past Robert Sanchez into the back of the net.
Brighton continued to search for a goal and their equaliser but were continually denied by Kepa in the first 45. A dazzling run from Kaoru Mitoma, who beat several players, was pushed away by the Spaniard, and he then dragged another effort wide three minutes later into the 29th minute.
Ferguson saw his header finely tipped over the bar 12 minutes before half time, which also proved to be the end of his game in the capital due to being forced off through injury. That was Brighton’s second change of the opening 45 after Veltman had to be replaced by Julio Enciso in the 28th minute.
Ferguson’s replacement was Danny Welbeck and three minutes before the half time interval, the former Arsenal striker made his mark. Pascal Gross’ swung in a left-footed cross from the right hand side and Welbeck headed past Kepa at the back post to send Brighton into the break level.
Kepa continued to weather the Brighton storm early in the second half when he denied Enciso and several others early on.
Lampard had seen enough just before the hour mark. He made a quadruple change. Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech and Joao Felix were all brought on for Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling.
Brighton somehow didn’t complete the comeback by taking the lead on 60 minutes. A mess defensively from Chelsea, including from Trevoh Chalobah and James, saw Enciso hit the post before Welbeck missed an open goal.
James and Mudryk had chances for the hosts but Sanchez matched the duo to ensure the score stayed level in the capital.
Brighton finally got their second through Enciso in the 69th minute to give them the lead. A stunning strike, after Felix was caught napping, from distance saw the Paraguayan’s strike fly into the top left corner.
Mount was Chelsea’s final change of the afternoon replacing Denis Zakaria in Lampard’s last bid to try to change the course of Brighton’s dominance at Stamford Bridge.
But the Blues were unable to find anything in the closing stages and Brighton held on in convincing fashion to claim the Premier League double over Chelsea.
The challenges continue to come for Chelsea, it gets even bigger on Tuesday night when Real Madrid visit the capital. If Brighton were able to dominate like they did, Carlo Ancelotti’s men could sail through next week on their 2-0 aggregate.
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