A spectacular overhead kick from Alireza Jahanbakhsh clinched a historic point as Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy featured in Brighton & Hove Albions’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
The 84th-minute strike was no less than the Seagulls deserved as Maty Ryan and Aaron Mooy helped the home side put Frank Lampard’s Blues under pressure at the AMEX Stadium.
Jahanbakhsh netted his first Premier League goal five days ago in the 2-0 win against Bournemouth, some 18 month after signing for Graham Potter’s side from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
And the Iranian forward made it a dream start to 2020 with a sensational bicycle kick to convert captain Lewis Dunk’s header as Brighton piled forward in search of an equaliser late on.
Chelsea had made the perfect start to the calendar year after only eight minutes on England’s south coast when Socceroos star Mooy blocked Tammy Abraham’s attempt and Cesar Azpilicueta turned in the loose ball.
The Blues held on to a 1-0 lead at half-time after goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga dived full-length to parry away Leandro Trossard’s stinging drive.
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Ryan was called into action after the interval and the Socceroos number one was forced to save twice from Chelsea’s American star Christian Pulisic’s pair of low strikes.
Brighton turned up the tempo heading into the final stages and Aaron Connelly’s close-range shot was clawed away by Arrizabalaga, before Jahanbakhsh finally broke the Blues’ resistance.
French forward Neal Maupay almost won it for Brighton in the last minute but for Arrizabalaga’s kept the ball out with his feet as the spoils were shared.
The outcome was the first time Brighton had taken any points from Chelsea in the Premier League from 10 attempts, leaving them 14th in the Premier League table on 24 points.
Irvine and Tigers triumph in adversity
Jackson Irvine and Hull City kicked off the new year on the right foot with a 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday but their preparations were far from smooth.
Jarrod Bowen’s 61st-minute goal was the difference at Hillsborough as Wednesday controlled the bigger share of possession but the Owls could not find their way past Irvine and the Hull backline.
Three points for Grant McCann’s side lift the Tigers to eighth place, a point off the playoff places in the race to the Premier League.
McCann afterwards insisted his side had to cope with mind games to come up the points in Yorkshire.
"I'm really pleased with the group because Sheffield Wednesday tried to knock us, even when we got to the stadium," McCann said.
"They made me park 10 minutes away in my car - which was strange - and turned all the plugs off in the dressing room so we didn't have any music.
"But these things are here to test you. We got our heads down and worked hard.”
Fleetwood miss chance to rise into top six
Over in League One, Harry Souttar’s Fleetwood Town shared the points in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
Ched Evans’ penalty but the Cod Army in front against the run of play on 13 minutes as the visitors went on dominate at Highbury Stadium.
It took the Black Cats until the 86th minute to find an equaliser, when Chris Maguire converted from the spot, keeping Fleetwood in seventh place and in striking distance of the playoffs.
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