Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Beram Kayal couldn’t hide his delight at making his first Amex Stadium start of the season in Monday evening’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
The Israeli played the full 90 minutes of the victory over the Eagles in the Emirates FA Cup, and emphasised that it was a good evening all round, as Chris Hughton’s men advanced to the next stage of the historic competition.
He said, “To start at the Amex was nice because it had been a while and it was a great feeling to play in front of the home fans.
“It’s always special for any player when you play at home and this was the first full game I had for a long time so that’s big for me too – the fact we won made it even better so it was a good night.
“It was great to be awarded ‘man of the match’ as well, but the most important thing was the win in the cup and now we look forward to the next round – it means a lot and it’s great for everyone concerned.”
The contest was decided by Glenn Murray’s late goal from close range, and Kayal gave his thoughts on the game as a whole as well, as the decisive moment that settled the cup tie.
“I think we controlled the game in the first half, but the tempo wasn’t too high and in the second half they pressed us.
“They put another striker on and made it harder for us, but we had some good chances in the second half too, and it was great to win it in the last few minutes.
“We said before the game that any technology to help would be good for the game. We’re happy that we won and that Glenn put us into the next round.”
Next up for the Seagulls in the competition is a trip to the Riverside Stadium to face Championship side Middlesbrough in the fourth round.
The midfielder revealed that the memories from the last meeting between the two sides, in which he was a prominent part of, were now a distant memory owing to the club’s current position in the top flight.
“It’s fair to say that we don’t have too many fond memories of Middlesbrough in recent seasons, but it’s a cup game and a different situation now.
“When you lose something you always have another chance to respond and be positive in your mentality, and that’s what we’ll do.
“We’re a long way from that day now and we’re enjoying the Premier League - so we go there looking to win it.”
Kayal’s midfielder partner on Monday evening – Dale Stephens, opened the scoring on the south coast in the 25th minute of the game, and he emphasised that his teammate’s first goal of the campaign was a welcome one given his ability.
“I had a good chance at 1-1 and I feel I should have scored, and we still created a lot of chances throughout the game.
“Dale was on the scoresheet and that was great, I am happy for him.
“He drove into the box really well and it was a powerful finish – he’s someone who’s known for his passing but we’re all happy for him to score.
“He has a great right foot on him and he’s a quality player, everyone knows that and when he plays deep in midfield he controls matches.
“But it was a good build up from the team and a very good goal.”