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Match Reports

REPORT: STOKE CITY 1 ALBION 1

10 February 2018

Bennett Dean
Albion's players mob Mathew Ryan after his 90th-minute penalty save.
  • Jose Izquierdo scores stylish first-half goal
  • Xherdan Shaqiri levels for hosts after the break
  • Mathew Ryan saves a last-minute penalty
  • Albion stay 13th in the Premier League

Brighton & Hove Albion played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday afternoon at the bet365 Stadium, with Mathew Ryan saving a 90th-minute penalty to keep the scores level.

A sublime first-half goal from Jose Izquierdo, which was a brilliant team move, handed the Seagulls an early advantage before Xherdan Shaqiri curled the hosts level in the second period.

Ryan was the hero for Albion in the dying stages - as late drama unfolded in front of the club's away following - saving brilliantly from Charlie Adam's spot-kick, before Anthony Knockaert headed off the line moments before the full-time whistle.

Chris Hughton made one change to the side that beat West Ham United 3-1 seven days earlier at the Amex Stadium – Solly March replaced Anthony Knockaert on Albion’s right-hand side, while club-record signing Jurgen Locadia came into the fold in place of Sam Baldock on the Seagulls' bench.

Albion began on the front foot and drew home keeper Jack Butland into a great save within the opening two minutes of the contest. 

Davy Propper was alive to the ball in the centre of the field and his clever first-time pass found Jose Izquierdo free on the far side of the area. The Colombian midfielder cut inside sharply and curled an effort towards goal which Butland did well to tip behind for a corner.

The opening quarter of the half was evenly contested on the whole, with Albion looking to play on the counter-attack and looking threatening through the combination of Pascal Gross and Glenn Murray, as the pair linked up with players in the wide areas of the pitch. 

Albion had another good opportunity 17 minutes in when Murray latched onto Shane Duffy’s intelligent knock-down from Propper’s long free-kick from the halfway line – but despite beating the home keeper to the ball, he could only prod his effort over the crossbar.

Dale Stephens set Izquierdo away down the left flank with a superb pass approaching the half-hour mark, but as the winger cut inside once more, he could only fire a dipping effort over the bar as the visitors continued to threaten on the counter. 

But four minutes later Hughton’s side took a deserved lead – and it came courtesy of the game’s most influential player. 

Izquierdo picked up possession on the left-hand side and played the ball into the feet of March who fired it back into the Colombian. The wide man then exchanged passes with Stephens before dropping his shoulder and coolly slotting into the bottom corner of the net to hand the Seagulls a well-earned lead.

A superb ball by March across the field then found Gross, and the midfielder twisted and turned superbly before firing across goal looking for Murray at the back post - but the ball was scrambled away by the home defence as the Seagulls went into the break ahead. 

Stoke made a change at the break with Saido Berahino replacing Darren Fletcher, and the home side began the second period quickly – loading a succession of crosses into the Albion penalty area that the visiting backline did well to deal with. 

Albion had to wait a little longer into the second period for their first good opportunity – and it came via the head of Propper. 

Stephens was once again the architect – this time with a superb sweeping ball to find the run of Izquierdo on the left. The winger’s cross was cleared, but only as far as Gross who delivered a superb ball to find the Dutch midfielder who headed over the bar from the middle of the area.

Jese then became the hosts’ second change when he replaced Maxim Choupo-Moting, while Albion’s constant threat on the counter-attack remained – particularly in the wide areas. 

But against the run of play the hosts were level with just over 20 minutes left to play. Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri – who had looked the biggest threat to Albion’s defence, picked up possession on the edge of the area and curled his shot past Ryan in the away goal to level the scores.

Leonardo Ulloa then came on to replace Murray with 20 minutes left on the clock before Propper volleyed at Butland as the game began to open up in the later stages. 

Beram Kayal was introduced for the influential Gross in Albion’s second substitution, and the hosts made their final switch as Charlie Adam replaced Badou N’Diaye.

The electric Izquierdo then stung the palms of Butland once more after unleashing a right-footed effort, and Anthony Knockaert then became Albion’s final substitute when he replaced the impressive March with five minutes left to play.

But there was to be plenty of late drama when Stephens was adjudged to have fouled Jese inside the area – it looked soft but Robert Madley pointed to the spot. 

Adam stepped up with a golden chance to win the contest for the hosts, but Ryan superbly palmed away the penalty. Lewis Dunk then did equally as well to deny the Scottish midfielder on the rebound as his sliding challenge did enough to prod the ball behind for a corner. 

The resulting set-piece saw Kurt Zouma’s flicked header at the near post look to be heading in, but Knockaert was on-hand to head the ball off the line before the referee brought a breathless last few moments to a close - and the spoils were shared. 

Albion line-up: Ryan; Schelotto, Dunk ©, Duffy, Bong; March (Knockaert 86), Propper, Stephens, Izquierdo; Gross (Kayal 79), Murray (Ulloa 70). 

Subs not used: Krul, Bruno, Goldson, Locadia.

Stoke City line-up: Butland; Bauer, Shawcross ©, Zouma, Pieters; Fletcher (Berahino 45), N’Diaye (Adam 79), Allen, Shaqiri; Choupo-Moting (Jese 62), Diouf.

Subs not used: Grant, Johnson, Cameron, Ramadan. 


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