AEK Athens 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: Seagulls celebrate ‘historic day’ to progress in Europa League

30 November 2023 0 By Total Football News

Joao Pedro prepares to kick a ballJoao Pedro is Brighton’s leading goalscorer across all competitions this season

Roberto de Zerbi hailed a “historic day” for Brighton & Hove Albion as they beat AEK Athens to book their spot in the knockout phase of the Europa League.

The Seagulls, playing in Europe for the first time in their history, earned revenge for their 3-2 loss at home to AEK in the opening match of the group stage to ensure their adventure continues.

“We showed a different mentality tonight, showcasing our soul and resilience,” De Zerbi told Uefa.com.

“It was a historic day for Brighton, for the club and our fans.

“It is a massive evening for the club and everyone involved, the players and the fans, a result we will always remember.”

Joao Pedro, who scored two penalties in the reverse fixture on the south coast, was accurate again from the spot as he sent goalkeeper Cican Stankovic the wrong way for the only goal in Greece.

Referee Sandro Scharer did not initially give the penalty after Pedro went down under pressure from Damian Szymanski, but he overturned his on-field decision after being advised to check the pitchside monitor following a VAR check.

AEK’s hopes of forcing their way back into the encounter were dashed just 10 minutes later when forward Mijat Gacinovic, who had been a thorn in Brighton’s side all night, was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a late challenge on Joel Veltman.

With an extra body on the field, Albion monopolised possession and maintained a firm grip on the contest for the final 25 minutes to claim just their third clean sheet of the season.

The win means Brighton will be playing in the next phase of the competition, although they need to beat Marseille in their final Group B fixture at Amex Stadium on 14 December to secure top spot and avoid featuring in the knockout play-offs.

Pedro proving to be key figure

Brighton have been hailed for their dealings in the transfer market, both incoming and outgoing, since making their Premier League debut in 2017-18.

They secured the services of Brazil international Pedro for just under £30m from Watford last summer and he has settled quickly under boss Roberto de Zerbi.

After registering on his debut in a 4-1 win over Luton in the Premier League, Pedro has scored a further eight times to establish himself as the club’s leading marksman.

Pedro looked the calmest person inside OPAP Arena when he made his slow and stuttering run up to the penalty spot before stroking coolly into the bottom-right corner.

The 22-year-old is the outright leading scorer in the Europa League, netting five times in as many games.

While De Zerbi will be happy with Pedro’s performance, the Italian is also likely to take just as much comfort from the fact his side came through the match with a clean sheet too.

Prior to the trip to Greece, Brighton had only collected two clean sheets – both coming against Ajax in the Europa League – in 18 outings across all competitions.

The Seagulls did have to dig in at times, with AEK creating the majority of the chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Steven Zuber went closest when his effort struck the post and Gacinovic could only fire wide from the rebound.

But Brighton rode their luck to get in level at the break and it was a professional performance to see the game through once they got in front.

Player of the match

DunkLewis Dunk

with an average of 8.25

AEK Athens

  1. Squad number1Player nameStankovic

    Average rating

    5.01

  2. Squad number5Player nameN Amrabat

    Average rating

    4.49

  3. Squad number19Player nameEliasson

    Average rating

    4.48

  4. Squad number10Player nameZuber

    Average rating

    4.43

  5. Squad number12Player nameRota

    Average rating

    4.39

  6. Squad number28Player nameHajisafi

    Average rating

    4.36

  7. Squad number13Player namePineda

    Average rating

    4.30

  8. Squad number4Player nameSzymanski

    Average rating

    4.29

  9. Squad number11Player nameAraújo

    Average rating

    4.28

  10. Squad number8Player nameGacinovic

    Average rating

    4.26

  11. Squad number2Player nameMoukoudi

    Average rating

    4.23

  12. Squad number20Player nameMantalos

    Average rating

    4.20

  13. Squad number21Player nameVida

    Average rating

    4.07

  14. Squad number14Player namePonce

    Average rating

    4.05

  15. Squad number70Player namePizarro

    Average rating

    3.96

Brighton & Hove Albion

  1. Squad number5Player nameDunk

    Average rating

    8.25

  2. Squad number11Player nameGilmour

    Average rating

    8.07

  3. Squad number9Player nameJoão Pedro

    Average rating

    7.87

  4. Squad number41Player nameHinshelwood

    Average rating

    7.74

  5. Squad number28Player nameFerguson

    Average rating

    7.71

  6. Squad number3Player nameIgor Julio

    Average rating

    7.64

  7. Squad number34Player nameVeltman

    Average rating

    7.64

  8. Squad number13Player nameGroß

    Average rating

    7.61

  9. Squad number24Player nameAdingra

    Average rating

    7.60

  10. Squad number22Player nameMitoma

    Average rating

    7.58

  11. Squad number6Player nameMilner

    Average rating

    7.44

  12. Squad number56Player nameDuffus

    Average rating

    7.28

  13. Squad number8Player nameDahoud

    Average rating

    7.25

  14. Squad number20Player nameBaleba

    Average rating

    7.06

  15. Squad number1Player nameVerbruggen

    Average rating

    6.51

Line-ups

AEK Athens

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Stankovic
  • 12Rota
  • 21Vida
  • 2Moukoudi
  • 28Hajisafi
  • 4Szymanski
  • 5N AmrabatSubstituted forEliassonat 72′minutes
  • 20MantalosSubstituted forAraújoat 72′minutes
  • 13PinedaSubstituted forPizarroat 83′minutes
  • 8GacinovicBooked at 65mins
  • 10ZuberBooked at 63minsSubstituted forPonceat 72′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Mohammadi
  • 11Araújo
  • 14Ponce
  • 19Eliasson
  • 24Mitoglou
  • 29Sidibé
  • 30Athanasiadis
  • 39Ginis
  • 70Pizarro

Brighton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Verbruggen
  • 34VeltmanBooked at 12mins
  • 5Dunk
  • 3dos Santos de Paulo
  • 41Hinshelwood
  • 13Groß
  • 11GilmourSubstituted forBalebaat 88′minutes
  • 24Adingra
  • 28FergusonSubstituted forDuffusat 88′minutes
  • 22MitomaSubstituted forDahoudat 69′minutes
  • 9João PedroSubstituted fordata-reactid=".15gxnjypqg8.0.0.0.1.$include-24.0.0.1:$panel-0.$0.0.0.1.3.$10PO475168.2.$0.2">Milnerat 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Milner
  • 8Dahoud
  • 20Baleba
  • 23Steele
  • 38McGill
  • 40Buonanotte
  • 45Hinchy
  • 48Chouchane
  • 50Jackson
  • 52Kavanagh
  • 56Duffus
Referee:
Sandro Schärer

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, AEK Athens 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.

Second Half ends, AEK Athens 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.