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18 August 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Inigo Calderon and Leonardo Ulloa celebrate at the King Power Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion’s opening away fixture of the 2017/18 season is against 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, and Chris Hughton’s team will be hoping for a similar outcome to when the Seagulls last visited.

Under the guidance of former manager Oscar Garcia, Albion came up against an already-promoted Foxes team, with a play-off position within reach towards the end of the 2013/14 Championship season.

Albion’s 2016/17 Player of the Season - Anthony Knockaert - lined up for the opposition that day, but the Frenchman’s promotion-winning team struggled to deal with the Seagulls, who lined up with Dale Stephens in central midfield and Solly March on the wing.

Stephens delivered a corner into the penalty box in the 17th minute and full-back Stephen Ward stooped low to beat Foxes goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel with a diving header.

Ward turned provider seven minutes later as his fine cross was met by Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard, whose close-range header doubled Albion’s advantage.

Nigel Pearson’s team were stunned by Albion’s fearless approach, and it got worse for the Foxes in the second half, when Leonardo Ulloa - who would go on to join Leicester - stroked the ball home after a delightful through-ball from Stephens.

The hard-working midfielder, who Albion signed from Charlton earlier that season, claimed his third assist of the evening as Ulloa glanced a header past Schmeichel to make it 4-0.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 89th minute, but Albion’s work had been done and the result proved crucial, as the Seagulls sneaked into the play-offs on the final day of the season at Nottingham Forest.

ALBION: Kuszczak; Calderon, Upson, Greer, Ward; March (Forster-Caskey 82), Andrews, Stephens, LuaLua (Mackail-Smith 88); Lingard (Lopez 88), Ulloa.

SUBS NOT USED: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Chicksen, Ince.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel; Konchesky, Morgan, Wasilewski, Moore; Knockaert (Dyer 45), Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Taylor-Fletcher 73); Phillips (Wood 45), Nugent.

SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Miguel, Hammond, James.

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