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WHEN ALBION MET THE KINGS OF EUROPE AT THE AMEX

16 January 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Vicente celebrates after scoring the equalising goal against Chelsea.

Saturday’s meeting with Chelsea may be Brighton & Hove Albion’s first Premier League home game against the current title-holders, but the Blues are no strangers to the Amex Stadium.

The London club visited the Amex in August 2012 for a pre-season friendly, and Roberto Di Matteo’s team were fresh off the back of winning the club’s first-ever Champions League trophy.

The Seagulls were entering their second season at their lavish new stadium, with a contrasting level of success compared to Chelsea’s famous penalty shootout victory against Bayern Munich.

Gus Poyet’s men had finished tenth in their first season back in England’s second tier, and their quest to reach the Premier League began with a daunting test against the champions of Europe.

Albion’s starting line-up included two recruits from Valencia - Vicente, who arrived at the club the previous summer, and Bruno, an experienced left-back who’d recently joined his compatriot on the south coast.

Chelsea fielded a star-studded team for their first Amex experience, with the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard all taking centre stage.

It was Lampard that got the ball rolling in the 31st minute, firing past Tomasz Kuszczak from close range, but the Seagulls soon hit back, and it was Vicente who found the bottom corner.

Albion took the lead shortly before the break when Will Buckley went on a surging run into the penalty area - Petr Cech pushed the ball into the path of Ashley Barnes and the striker lashed home to make it 2-1.

The European victors pressed for an equaliser in the second half, but Andrew Crofts wrapped up the game in the closing stages, to boost optimism among the club’s supporters before the league campaign got underway.

Over five years later, the stakes will be bigger when Chelsea make their second visit to the Amex on Saturday afternoon, and only three players could feature again.

Gary Cahill and Hazard could take their place in Chelsea’s starting-11, while that 2012 recruit from Valencia, Bruno, who captained the side into the Premier League, could also take his place.


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