- Albion beat FC Nantes in their final pre-season friendly
- Tomer Hemed and Pascal Gross on target
- Bernardo, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Yves Bissouma make their home debuts
- The Seagulls face Watford in their Premier League season opener next Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion rounded off their pre-season campaign with a deserved 2-1 victory over FC Nantes.
Goals either side of half-time from Tomer Hemed and Pascal Gross put the Seagulls in charge and although Valentin Rongier pulled one back in the closing stages, Albion were good value for their victory.
Only Bernardo of Albion’s summer recruits lined up in the starting XI and the hosts began brightly, pressing Nantes deep into their own half.
But the French side created the first threat on ten minutes, when Emiliano Sala let fly from 25 yards and Maty Ryan reacted quickly to push his shot onto the post.
Sala’s effort seemed to give his team-mates a taste for shots from distance. Samuel Moutoussamy wasn’t far away from distance, before Albion were forced into a 15th-minute change when Hemed replaced Glenn Murray.
After Ryan had held another long-distance effort from Lucas Lima, Albion began to assert themselves and Nantes goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was called into action to keep out Pascal Gross’s close-range header.
Hemed might have scored in the 21st minute when he met Knockaert’s cross with a header which was straight at the keeper.
Ryan pushed an effort from Abdoulaye Dabo over his bar as the pace intensified, but after Shane Duffy’s header from a corner was disallowed for a foul, the Seagulls hit the front in the 37th minute with a superbly-worked goal.
Bruno picked out Knockaert’s run in the inside right channel with a perfect pass and the Frenchman unselfishly squared the ball to the unmarked Hemed to glide past the keeper.
Albion doubled their lead in the 49th minute when Gross punished some slack defending. He dispossessed Abdoulaye Toure on the right-hand side of the box, exchanged passes with Hemed before slipping the ball under CiprianTatarusanu to make it 2-0.
Ryan still had to be alert, saving another effort from outside the box by Rongier before Duffy was denied by a flag for the second time when his far-post header was ruled out for offside.
With 20 minutes to go Chris Hughton introduced Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Yves Bissouma for their Amex debuts with Knockaert and Davy Propper making way.
Nantes pulled one back with nine minutes to go when their skipper Rongier curled a low right-foot shot into the bottom corner to set up an interesting finish.
But Albion defended diligently in the closing stages to claim a deserved victory.
ALBION: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Knockaert (Jahanbakhsh 71), Stephens, Propper (Bissouma 71), March; Gross, Murray (Hemed 16).
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Bong, Balogun, Schelotto, White, Suttner, Kayal, Gyokeres.