Report: Connolly and Maupay strike in stunning Spurs win

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Aaron Connolly made a dream Premier League debut at the Amex with two goals, as Albion ended their six-month wait for a home win with a stunning victory over Spurs.

By Bruce Talbot • 05 October 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly is congratulated after scoring his first Premier League goal.
  • Albion beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 at the Amex
  • Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly on target
  • Win is Albion's first at home this season
  • The Seagulls are next in action after the international break away at Aston Villa

The Irishman produced a poacher’s finish from close range to double the lead after Neal Maupay had put Albion in charge with his third goal of the season.

Man of the match Connolly did even better midway through the second half with a brilliant goal to make it 3-0 and round off a hugely impressive performance by Graham Potter’s side, who will go into the international break on a massive high. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion's players huddle before the game.

Tottenham’s problems have been well documented, but their line-up still included seven players who had started in the Champions League Final in May, but they couldn’t cope at times with an irrepressible and relentless attacking display by the Seagulls who had 17 efforts at goal, six on target. Just as importantly, Albion’s hard work, not only among their defenders, was rewarded with a clean sheet.

Albion got off to the best-possible start, scoring their earliest Premier League goal after just 2 minutes 30 seconds through Maupay.

It was a gift for the French striker, after compatriot Hugo Lloris fell backwards and dropped a left-wing cross from Pascal Gross enabling Maupay to nod in from less than a yard. It was the end of Lloris’s afternoon. After more than six minutes of treatment, during which he was given oxygen, the Tottenham goalkeeper was stretchered off to hospital with what looked like a bad injury to his left arm and was replaced by Paulo Gazzaniga. 

By Bennett Dean
Neal Maupay celebrates breaking the deadlock against Tottenham.

Albion didn't let up after their fast start. Jan Vertonghen was felled by Dale Stephens’s goalbound volley and the defender suffered a black eye after challenging Maupay for a loose ball. With Albion’s front men combining so well it only seemed a matter of time before they scored again.

Connolly had penalty appeals waved away by referee Jonathan Moss on the half-hour when he seemed to be pushed, but a couple of minutes later the 19-year-old was celebrating. Connolly got to Dan Burn’s cross before his marker and although Gazzaniga saved his shot he couldn’t hold onto the ball and Connolly swooped to guide it into the bottom corner from close range. The first teenager to play in the Premier League for Albion had a goal as well.  

Connolly wasn’t far away from a second when he clipped Gross’s cross wide, while Gazzaniga was happy to see a long-range effort from the German fly just wide.

Tottenham only threatened sporadically. Their best moment of the first half came when they broke after Connolly’s shot was blocked, through Harry Kane. The England captain’s square ball found Erik Lamela in space on the right and although his shot beat Maty Ryan, Lewis Dunk cleared it off the line.

Brighton had some defending to do at the start of the second half as Spurs, with Harry Winks on as a substitute, began to press. But with an hour gone, Ryan still hadn’t made a save of note and when they went forward the hosts still carried a much greater threat. Aaron Mooy won a corner which Gross floated out to Stephens, and his volley only just cleared Gazzaniga’s goal. Gross nearly surprised the Argentinian a couple of minutes later with a free kick close to the goal line on the edge of the 18-yard box, which dipped onto the roof of the net.

By Paul Hazlewood
The celebrations following Aaron Connolly's goal.

But on 65 minutes Albion had their third. Connolly took possession wide on the left, eased past Toby Alderweireld and guided a right-foot shot into the far corner with Gazzaniga helpless. It was the composed finish of someone with years of top-flight goalscoring behind him, not a player making his first Premier League start.

Spurs had two chances to respond. Son completely mis-kicked six yards out after good work by Moussa Sissoko, before Kane blasted over from 12 yards after finding some space on the right.  

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly celebrates scoring his second and Albion's third goal.

Connolly – the first Irish teenager to score two Premier League goals in a game since Robbie Keane in 1999 - departed to a standing ovation with ten minutes to go and in the closing stages a rampant Albion were still searching for more goals. Mooy’s pass nearly played in Maupay and Gross could only shoot straight at Gazzaniga from a great position in the box. At the other end, Ryan was alert enough to push Lucas Moura’s shot around the post.

A brilliant performance greeted with another standing ovation at the final whistle. What a day for Albion – and Aaron Connolly in particular. 

ALBION: Ryan; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Montoya Stephens (Murray 90+1), Mooy, Alzate (Bong 88); Gross, Connolly (Bissouma 80), Maupay.

SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Balogun, Jahanbakhsh, March.