Brighton 1-0 Aston Villa: Late Joao Pedro strike hits Aston Villa’s top-four hopes

Brighton striker Joao Pedro
Brighton striker Joao Pedro has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season

Joao Pedro struck a late winner as Brighton put a dent in Aston Villa’s Champions League hopes at the Amex Stadium.

The Brazilian headed home a rebound in the 87th minute after his penalty was saved by Robin Olsen.

Pascal Gross had an earlier effort for the hosts ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), while Villa captain John McGinn was also judged to be inches ahead of the Brighton defence before scoring at the other end.

Unai Emery’s fourth-placed side remain seven points clear of Tottenham, who lost 4-2 at Liverpool on Sunday but have a game in hand.

Having suffered a disappointing loss to Olympiakos in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night, Villa missed the chance to strengthen their hold on fourth with two matches left.

They were sluggish throughout and Brighton looked to have taken a deserved lead in the 68th minute when Gross met a Pedro cross with a clever finish, but VAR ruined his celebrations.

The Seagulls had found Villa keeper Olsen – replacing the injured Emiliano Martinez – in fine form, but kept pressing.

When winger Simon Adingra went to ground in the box under a challenge from Ezri Konsa, referee Robert Jones pointed to the spot.

It was almost in keeping with the game that Pedro had his penalty pushed away by Olsen, but the striker was sharp enough to nod home the rebound.

Roberto de Zerbi’s side moved up to 11th in the table after ending a disappointing six-match winless run and claiming their first home success against Villa since 1980.

Brighton struggling for goals

A lack of goals is not something often associated with De Zerbi’s Brighton, but they have now only scored five times in their last 10 Premier League fixtures.

The Seagulls started the game full of attacking intent but clear-cut chances were hard to come by in a scrappy encounter.

Sweden international Olsen produced two fine saves in either half to deny Gross and then Pedro as Villa’s backline was breached.

Brighton’s free-flowing style was a highlight of an impressive start to the season, but they looked to have lost confidence.

Adingra and Pedro showcased their talent on occasions but there seems to be a lack of cohesion between the Brighton attack as their campaign nears a frustrating end.

But for Pedro’s 20th goal of the season, it would have been a third successive game without scoring.

Emery needs to lift Villa after miserable week

Villa fans have suffered more than most this week with successive defeats.

Before the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg tie with Olympiakos, they were full of hope and expectation.

There was disbelief after the 4-2 home loss and the loss to Brighton will further add to their misery.

Three points for Villa would have put one foot in the Champions League next season and given them a lift for their second-leg return in Greece.

Emery will need to pick up his players up for one last push to make sure they don’t blow the chance of making this season a memorable one.

Player of the match

GilmourBilly Gilmour

Brighton & Hove Albion

  1. Squad number11Player nameGilmour

  2. Squad number9Player nameJoão Pedro

  3. Squad number24Player nameAdingra

  4. Squad number5Player nameDunk

  5. Squad number19Player nameBarco

  6. Squad number13Player nameGroß

  7. Squad number18Player nameWelbeck

  8. Squad number15Player nameModer

  9. Squad number1Player nameVerbruggen

  10. Squad number4Player nameWebster

  11. Squad number40Player nameBuonanotte

  12. Squad number10Player nameEnciso

  13. Squad number34Player nameVeltman

  14. Squad number20Player nameBaleba

  15. Squad number3Player nameIgor Julio

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  2. Squad number25Player nameOlsen

  3. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  4. Squad number2Player nameCash

  5. Squad number31Player nameBailey

  6. Squad number27Player nameRogers

  7. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  8. Squad number14Player nameP Torres

  9. Squad number19Player nameDiaby

  10. Squad number12Player nameDigne

  11. Squad number3Player nameDiego Carlos

  12. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  13. Squad number24Player nameDurán

  14. Squad number15Player nameÁlex Moreno

  15. Squad number16Player nameChambers

Line-ups

Brighton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Verbruggen
  • 34Veltman
  • 4Webster
  • 5Dunk
  • 3dos Santos de Paulo
  • 13GroßBooked at 49mins
  • 11GilmourSubstituted forBalebaat 88′minutes
  • 40BuonanotteSubstituted forEncisoat 61′minutes
  • 9João Pedro
  • 24AdingraBooked at 63minsSubstituted forBarcoat 90+3′minutes
  • 18WelbeckSubstituted forModerat 88′minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Enciso
  • 15Moder
  • 19Barco
  • 20Baleba
  • 23Steele
  • 31Ansu Fati
  • 42Offiah
  • 44Peupion
  • 55O’Mahony

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 25Olsen
  • 4KonsaSubstituted forChambersat 90′minutes
  • 3Diego Carlos
  • 14P Torres
  • 12DigneSubstituted forMorenoat 90′minutes
  • 7McGinn
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 31Bailey
  • 27RogersSubstituted forCashat 26′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 19DiabySubstituted forDuránat 73′minutes
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 2Cash
  • 15Moreno
  • 16Chambers
  • 17Lenglet
  • 18Gauci
  • 24Durán
  • 29Kesler-Hayden
  • 47Iroegbunam
  • 71Kellyman

Referee:
Robert Jones

Attendance:
31,596

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