Match Reports

U23 Report: Albion 0 Liverpool 0

By Kieran Cleeves • 10 August 2018

  • Albion open the season with a goalless draw against Liverpool
  • The Seagulls have numerous chances to break the deadlock
  • Hugo Keto, Anders Dreyer and Mathias Normann make debuts
  • Normann receives a second yellow card late on

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s battled towards a 0-0 draw against Liverpool in their opening game of the Premier League 2 Division 1 season at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre this evening.

The Seagulls claimed their first point of the campaign against last season’s second-placed side, as neither team managed to break the deadlock despite numerous chances in front of goal on the south coast.

Simon Rusk gave league debuts to summer signings Hugo Keto and Anders Dreyer, while Mathias Normann made his Albion debut after spending much of last season on loan at Molde FK.

The visitors created the first opportunity of the game inside the opening minutes, but Corey Whelan’s back-post header sailed straight into the arms of Keto, who commanded his area well.

Ben White almost gave Albion the lead in the seventh minute, as he rose highest to head towards goal, but Aaron Connolly’s close-range flick lifted the ball over the crossbar.

Normann was next to go close for the Seagulls, as the Norwegian’s low-driven effort from the edge of the penalty area was tipped around the post by Liverpool shot-stopper Kamil Grabara.

Connolly then found himself bearing down on goal as he was released in-behind Liverpool’s defence, but the Irishman sliced his shot after the visiting defence applied pressure from behind.

Albion continued to apply pressure as Gyokeres cut inside and drilled wide from 25 yards, before Bobby Adekanye saw his left-footed strike nestle into the side-netting from the edge of the box.

Gyokeres then played a smart one-two with Sanders before chopping the ball past his marker in the penalty area, but the winger’s close-range effort was excellently blocked in front of goal.

Rusk’s side returned for the second half and found themselves in a great position early on, as three Albion shirts broke forward to Liverpool’s one, but Gyokeres’s square pass got away from Sanders and the visitors cleared up.

Matthew Virtue was then presented with a fine chance to break the deadlock when a cross found the midfielder at the back post, but the Liverpool man completely missed the ball as it rolled out for a goal kick.

Reds’ goalkeeper Grabara was then called upon to make a superb save from Sanders, after Gyokeres delivered a low cross into the penalty area and found the Albion midfielder.

Sheyi Ojo came inside off the flank and curled an effort towards the bottom corner soon afterwards, but Keto got down well to make an impressive stop to his right-hand side, as both teams’s went in search of a winning goal.

Liverpool looked destined to score in the closing stages when Virtue and Isaac Christie-Davies both had chances in quick succession, but Keto made a great save before Owen Moore intervened with a spectacular block at full stretch.

Dreyer raced through on goal with just three minutes remaining on the clock, but with just Grabara to beat, the new signing’s fierce effort was parried away from goal by the Reds’ shot-stopper.

Albion were then reduced to ten men for the final couple of minutes, as Normann received a second yellow card, but the Seagulls were able to hold on for a well-deserved point on their top-flight debut.

ALBION: Keto; Moore, White, Barclay, Cochrane; Normann, Collar; Dreyer, Sanders (J.Davies 86), Gyokeres; Connolly (Radulovic 86).

Subs not used: Collings (GK), A.Davies, Mandroiu.

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