- Albion ease into Carabao Cup third round with 4-0 win over Portsmouth
- Alexis Mac Allister, Bernardo and Gyokeres both score their first goals for the club
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh also on target with spectacular strike
- Seagulls now travel to Preston North End next Wednesday
Alexis Mac Allister and Bernardo scored their first Albion goals and Viktor Gyokeres netted his first at senior level in a comfortable victory over League One Portsmouth in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
Mac Allister headed Albion into a first-half lead before two goals in four minutes early in the second half from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Bernardo put Albion in control.
Gyokeres made it 4-0 with a neat finish 19 minutes from time and the winning margin didn’t flatter the Seagulls, who played some great football at times.
Graham Potter made 11 changes to the team which faced Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday, but it was still a strong line-up containing six full internationals with one of them, Joel Veltman, making his debut.
Albion nearly made a dream start with a goal inside the first minute when Jahanbakhsh’s cross-shot drifted onto the roof of the net before a Portsmouth player had touched the ball.
They opened Pompey up in the seventh minute and should have scored. Two stepovers created space for Gyokeres to fire in a shot which keeper Craig MacGillivray parried to Bernardo, who skied the ball over an open goal.
The home side continued to dominate. Sean Raggett cleared a shot from Pascal Gross a yard in front of goal in the 22nd minute then, two minutes later, Dale Stephens beat MacGillivray from outside the box but his skidding, right-foot drive came back off the post.
Dan Burn headed wide when unmarked at the far post and Gross stabbed an excellent Bernardo cross wide, before Albion’s pressure finally paid off in the 38th minute when Jahanbakhsh spotted Mac Allister’s late run and found him with a delicious cross which the Argentinian headed home.
Pompey offered an occasional threat in the first half, mainly through Ronan Curtis, but Jason Steele wasn’t seriously tested before the break and Curtis was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after a robust challenge which left Veltman clutching his shoulder.
Albion still needed the comfort of a second goal and it came in spectacular fashion on 54 minutes. The move began deep in the home half as Mac Allister found Gyokeres who laid it into the path of Jahanbakhsh. The Iran international took a touch before driving the ball with tremendous power into the top left-hand corner, with MacGillivray helpless.
It was 3-0 four minutes later with another superb finish. Gross floated a corner over from the right and Bernardo made a diagonal burst past four defenders to meet the ball and head it powerfully into the roof of the net. It was the Brazilian’s first goal for the club and his first in any match since netting for RB Leipzig in November 2017.
It was now a question of how big Albion’s winning margin would be. A fourth goal came in the 71st minute when Bernardo cushioned a header into Gyokeres’ path and the Swedish international turned to fire past MacGillivray.
Jason Steele preserved his clean sheet when he kept out Sean Raggett’s header at full stretch and Albion had to play for the last six minutes with ten men when Stephens went off with an injury with all three substitutes on the pitch. It was the only problem on a good night for Potter’s men.
Albion: Steele; Molumby, Veltman (Roberts 68), Burn, Bernardo; Jahanbakhsh (Sanders 68), Stephens, Propper, Mac Allister, Gross (Gwargis 76), Gyokeres.
Unused subs: Sanchez, Cochrane, Yapi, Dendoncker