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Match Reports

U23 REPORT: SWANSEA CITY 1 ALBION 1 (9-8 PENS)

6 April 2018

Jason Kostromin/Swansea City
James Tilley contests an aerial duel against Swansea City.
  • Albion exit the Premier League Cup in the quarter-finals
  • Viktor Gyokeres and Daniel James score in normal time
  • George Cox has penalty saved in extra time
  • The hosts progress after winning 9-8 on penalties

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were beaten on penalties after drawing 1-1 after 120 minutes against Swansea City in the Premier League Cup quarter-finals, in what was a scintillating game at the Landore Training Centre.

The Seagulls took the lead through Viktor Gyokeres in the first half, but Daniel James equalised soon after the break. George Cox then had a penalty saved in the dying stages of extra time, before the Swans sealed a 9-8 victory on penalties.

Albion made a confident start to the game and enjoyed the majority of possession inside the opening ten minutes - but James Tilley came up just short when he raced into the box to meet Cox’s dangerous delivery.

Daniel James created Swansea’s first opportunity at goal after 15 minutes, but the midfielder’s fierce effort flew comfortably wide of Robert Sanchez’s right-hand upright, after he shifted the ball and pulled the trigger from close range.

There were early signs that Tom Dallison would have his work cut out in the heart of Albion’s defence, but the 22-year-old stood up to the physical challenge that Swans striker Botti Biabi provided from the outset.

Gyokeres made himself useful in the final third, coming short on a number of occasions to pick up the ball and find a team-mate - and the Swede got his reward for his early work in the 33rd minute when he broke the deadlock for the Seagulls.

Albion worked the ball to the left wing and Henrik Bjordal looked up before squaring for the Swede inside the penalty area, and the striker showed the quality needed to convert with a powerful finish past Swans goalkeeper Steven Benda.

The hosts then had two chances in quick succession before the break, but Adnan Maric and James were unable to trouble Sanchez between the sticks, before Bjordal’s low shot was pushed away up the other end.

Simon Rusk’s side returned for the second half and found themselves on level terms within the first 60 seconds - and it was James who stylishly dispatched into the bottom corner from Biabi’s lay-off inside the penalty area.

Gyokeres then went in search of his second goal of the game, when he received the ball outside the box and turned his marker, but the Swede’s dipping drive from 20 yards was tipped over the crossbar to deny Albion a second lead.

Gyokeres was a whisker away from converting at the back post when Bjordal drilled a low ball across the face of the penalty area, and Sanchez came to his team’s rescue moments later, when he got the smallest of touches to divert James’s stinging drive onto the crossbar.

The match entered the closing stages and Albion created a superb opening in the 90th minute, but Gyokeres’s low shot, when slipped through on goal, was saved before Daniel Mandroiu lifted his follow-up over the crossbar.

Mandroiu had another chance in the dying seconds but headed over the crossbar from ten yards, which ensured the game would head into extra time, as neither side could find a second goal.

The home side enjoyed the better of the play in the opening 15 minutes of extra time, with Biabi heading against the post from a corner, but the match remained level as Albion rode their luck.

Penalties were minutes away when Albion were presented with a golden chance to win the game from 12 yards, when Owen Moore's cross was handled inside the box, but Benda made an outstanding save to keep out Cox’s well-struck penalty in the 118th minute.

The match went into a penalty shootout and Albion’s first eight penalty takers fired home to make the score 8-8, but after Cian Harries put Swansea 9-8 ahead, Ben Barclay’s spot-kick was saved and the hosts secured their place in the semi-finals.

ALBION: Sanchez; Mateju, Dallison, Barclay, Cox; Tilley (Mandroiu 63), Sanders, Alzate, Bjordal (Moore 105); Connolly, Gyokeres.

Subs not used: Collings (GK), Kerr, Radulovic.


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