- Albion record their second victory in the Premier League Cup
- Jiri Skalak and Viktor Gyokeres on target for the Seagulls
- Josh Robson’s own goal makes it 3-0
- Niki Maenpaa plays the full 90 minutes
Brighton & Hove Albion recorded their second victory in the Premier League Cup after a 3-1 win over Sunderland at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
Goals from Jiri Skalak and Viktor Gyokeres, alongside Josh Robson’s own goal gave the Seagulls all three points.
Albion worked an opening inside the first two minutes, as Gyokeres cut inside from the left and saw his subsequent shot cannon off the crossbar.
Sunderland had a chance of their own just moments later, when Brandon Taylor forced Niki Maenpaa into a fine two-handed save.
Rusk’s side pressed forward again through Aaron Connolly, who forced Sunderland keeper Max Stryjek into a fine save, before Skalak fired wide from the resulting corner.
But Skalak broke the deadlock with 17 minutes played, after he was picked out by Gyokeres and clinically dispatched his strike beyond Stryjek in the Black Cats goal.
Albion continued their commanding first-half display, and Tyler Forbes showed good vision to pick Connolly at the near post, but Stryjek claimed the ball.
Sunderland struggled to make inroads into the match, but engineered a good chance themselves when Jake Hackett picked out Lee Connelley at the end of a slick move, only to be denied by Maenpaa’s fine save.
The Seagulls were dealt an injury blow shortly towards the interval though, as Dessie Hutchinson was replaced by Archie Davies.
But Albion ended the half on a high and made their dominance count with a second goal thanks to Gyokeres, who curled an unstoppable drive past Stryjek in first-half stoppage time.
Rusk’s side continued were they left off after the break, as Max Sanders played in an excellent through ball to Connolly, but Stryjek was on hand to thwart the latter.
Sanders was involved in the thick of the action again after he took advantage of some space inside the box, however his effort was deflected wide of the far post.
Albion added a third though just shy of the hour mark, as a cross from Gyokeres was diverted into his own net by Robson.
The Black Cats looked for a way back into the contest, and Denver Hume made a promising run down the left only to his see his wayward shot go wide.
The visitors did get themselves on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, when Tom Dallison was penalised for a handball inside the box and Embleton fired in the spot-kick, despite Maenpaa guessing the right way.
Connolly had yet another opportunity late on to get his name on the scoresheet, but his low drive was save by Stryjek and the game ended 3-1.
ALBION: Maenpaa; Mateju, Hall, Dallison, Cox; Forbes (Bjordal 60), Hutchinson (A Davies 43), Skalak, Sanders; Gyokeres (Alzate 87), Connolly.
SUBS NOT USED: Collings (GK), J Davies.