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Report: More Ali magic in draw with Chelsea

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Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored a sensational late equaliser as Albion began 2020 with a hard-earned point against Chelsea at the Amex.

By Bruce Talbot • 01 January 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Alireza Jahanbakhsh celebrates after scoring a stunning equaliser against Chelsea.
  • Seagulls begin the New Year with a deserved draw against Chelsea
  • Alireza Jahanbakhsh scores for the second successive game with an overhead kick
  • Albion battle back after Chelsea take an early lead through Cesar Azpilicueta
  • Graham Potter’s are men back in action in the FA Cup against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday

The Iranian produced a very early contender for the goal of the new decade with a brilliant overhead kick seven minutes from time, after captain Cesar Azpilicueta had given the visitors an early lead.

Jahanbakhsh’s stunner – his second Premier League goal in as many games - was no more than Albion deserved after they recovered well having gone behind inside ten minutes.

Kepa Arrizabalaga made good saves to deny Leandro Trossard and Aaron Connolly before the goal, and he produced an even better stop in the closing stages to keep out Neal Maupay’s drive.

Graham Potter had made two changes to the team which beat Bournemouth, with Adam Webster and Steven Alzate coming in for Shane Duffy and Jahanbakhsh, who were both on the bench.

By Paul Hazlewood
Martin Montoya looks for options higher up the pitch.

Alzate had a chance in the sixth minute after good approach play by Trossard and Maupay created space for Alzate, whose volley from just inside the box was deflected wide.

But the visitors went in front after ten minutes with a scrappy goal. Albion failed to clear Willian’s corner on the right and after Aaron Mooy had made a goal-line clearance to deny Tammy Abraham, Azpilicueta marked his 100th Chelsea appearance with a tap-in. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Mooy shieds the ball from Jorginho.

With Azpilicueta and Reece James pushing on at every opportunity, Albion found it tough to get a grip, particularly in midfield, and they suffered another blow when James floored Dan Burn with a heavy challenge and the defender went off with his left arm in a sling. Bernardo replaced him.

Chelsea threatened again in the 28th minute when Abraham broke into the box, but with Willian unmarked to his right, the striker took on the shot and Webster managed to get in a crucial deflection which took it over the bar.

By Paul Hazlewood
Yves Bissouma keeps the ball away from Cesar Azpilicueta.

But Albion gradually began to get a grip and enjoyed a good spell towards the end of the first half, as Mooy moved onto the right and Trossard the left in a tactical switch by Potter.

And they nearly equalised two minutes before the break. Alzate won a great challenge deep inside his own half as the hosts broke quickly, and eventually Trossard’s shot produced a full-length save by Arrizabalaga.

The Seagulls made a second change at the break with Connolly replacing Yves Bissouma, and went to a 4-3-3 formation, but it was Chelsea who threatened first in the second half through Christian Pulisic, who had three sights of goal in the space of two minutes. His first effort was easy for Maty Ryan, his next blocked by Webster before the American dragged another shot wide. Ryan then held N’Golo Kante’s volley.

Midway through the half, Jahanbakhsh came on for Mooy and had a chance with 17 minutes to go when the ball broke for him on the edge of the box, but he failed to keep his right-foot effort on target

By Paul Hazlewood
Alireza Jahanbakhsh levelled the scores with a superb overhead kick.

Albion went close again with 12 minutes left. Trossard’s free-kick from the corner of the box was flicked on to Connolly, who turned his marker only for Arrizabalaga to spring to his right to push away the Irishman’s volley.

But the equaliser they deserved arrived in the 83rd minute. Dunk’s header inside the box was met with a spectacular overhead kick by Jahanbakhsh, which flew into the bottom right-hand corner.

Callum Hudson-Odoi wasted an opportunity for Chelsea on the break when he fired over, but the Seagulls went close to winning it in the closing stages but Arrizabalaga made a great save with his feet to keep out Maupay’s shot.

It was end-to-end stuff in the closing stages, with Arrizabalaga holding Dunk’s free kick deep into stoppage time, but it was a point apiece and an encouraging start to the new decade for Albion.

ALBION: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Webster, Burn (Bernardo 21), Trossard, Alzate, Propper, Bissouma (Connolly 45), Mooy (Jahanbakhsh 68), Maupay.

SUBS NOT USED: Button, Duffy, Stephens, Gross.

ATTENDANCE: 30,559

 

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