Fernandez scores twice as 10-man Chelsea end Brighton hoodoo

3 Dec 2023
Fernandez, Chelsea

Argentinian's first Premier League goals earn Blues a first league win over Seagulls in six attempts

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Enzo Fernandez's first two Premier League goals earned 10-man Chelsea a first league win over Brighton & Hove Albion in six attempts, beating the Seagulls 3-2 in a pulsating contest at Stamford Bridge.

How the match unfolded

Mauricio Pochettino made four changes, with Levi Colwill and Axel Disasi recalled in defence, while Moises Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk started in place of Lesley Ugochukwu and Cole Palmer.

Brighton, meanwhile, made five changes from the side that beat AEK Athens 1-0 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, with Jason Steele, Igor Julio, Carlos Baleba, Jan Paul van Hecke and Facundo Buonanotte coming in for Bart Verbruggen, Pascal Gross, Kaoru Mitoma, Joao Pedro and the suspended Lewis Dunk.

Chelsea took the lead on 17 minutes through Fernandez. After Brighton were unable to clear from a corner, Benoit Badiashile hooked the ball back across goal for Fernandez to head past Steele.

The home side doubled their advantage four minutes later from another right-wing corner. 

This time it was Nicolas Jackson who nodded back for Colwill to head in, with his effort creeping over the line for his first Chelsea goal, coming against the side where he spent the 2022/23 season on loan.

Colwill, Chelsea

But Brighton pulled a goal back in the 43rd minute, Buonanotte cutting in from the right before bending a superb strike into the far-left corner.

And the Seagulls were given further hope on the stroke of half-time after Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher was sent off for a second bookable offence following a foul on former Blues midfielder Billy Gilmour.

It’s the second consecutive match that Chelsea's captain has been shown a red card, after Reece James was dismissed in last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Newcastle.

Brighton struggled to take advantage of the extra man early in the second half, and it was Chelsea who scored the all-important fourth goal of the match on 65 minutes.

Chelsea were awarded a penalty following a VAR review, with referee Craig Pawson sent to the Referee Review Area and adjudging James Milner to have fouled Mudryk.

Fernandez stroked his spot-kick down the middle of the goal to restore Chelsea’s two-goal lead.

Brighton pulled a goal back in the second minute of added time through substitute Joao Pedro, who glanced in a header from Milner's corner to set up a grandstand finish. 

The Seagulls were then awarded a penalty for a handball by Colwill, only for the decision to be overturned by Pawson after being recommended to go over to the Referee Review Area.

A first home win since August moves Chelsea up to 10th place on 19 points, three behind eighth-placed Brighton.

Premier League

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
7 Brighton BHA 26 +8 39
8 West Ham WHU 26 -6 39
9 Wolves WOL 26 0 38
10 Newcastle NEW 26 +9 37
11 Chelsea CHE 25 +1 35
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Next five PL fixtures
Did you know?

Brighton have both scored and conceded in each of their previous 18 Premier League games, their longest such run in the competition. In fact, the last time that both sides did not score in a top-flight match featuring the Seagulls was in their 3-0 defeat of Arsenal in May.

Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez scored his first Premier League goal in his 31st appearance and from his 43rd shot in the competition. Before today, he had attempted more shots than any player without a goal in the Premier League this season (22).

Only Arsenal (six) have scored more penalties than Chelsea in the Premier League this season (five). The Blues have scored 21 of their previous 23 spot kicks in the competition.

Brighton’s Facundo Bounanotte has been directly involved in a goal in two of his last three appearances in the Premier League (one goal, one assist), as many as in his first 16 matches in the competition (one goal, one assist).

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