Brighton 1-0 Roma (agg 1-4): Seagulls fail to pull off miracle comeback after Danny Welbeck's first-half strike at the Amex… as Roberto De Zerbi's side crash out of Europe at the round of 16
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Brighton 1-0 Roma (agg 1-4): Seagulls fail to pull off miracle comeback after Danny Welbeck's first-half strike at the Amex… as Roberto De Zerbi's side crash out of Europe at the round of 16

Mar 21, 2024
  • Brighton went into the second leg with a 4-0 deficit to overcome against Roma
  • The Italian side, who lost the 2023 final on penalties, are through to the last eight
  • ‘He’s the one Premier League player I’d PAY to watch’ Which star has IAN LADYMAN entranced? – It’s All Kicking off podcast 

Brighton salvaged some pride in beating Roma, but the miracle required was beyond them as Roberto De Zerbi’s men exited Europe at the Amex Stadium.

While West Ham won 5-0 and Liverpool 6-1 – two scorelines which would have suited Brighton – Roma held firm after Danny Welbeck’s sensational first-half strike.

Even Aston Villa’s 4-0 victory would have done to take this tie into extra-time. Instead, Brighton’s European adventure came to an end and the side sitting eighth in the Premier League must now focus on a strong end to the season to secure another.

We had witnessed a few famous comebacks in the second legs of European football: Liverpool beating Barcelona 4-0 after losing 3-0 in 2019; Barcelona beating Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 after losing 4-0 in 2017; Deportivo La Coruna beating AC Milan 4-0 after losing 4-1 in 2004.

What those comebacks all had in common was goals were scored inside the opening 10 minutes, but Roma avoided succumbing to Brighton’s early dominance here.

Danny Welbeck's first-half strike was enough to earn Brighton a 1-0 win on the night but not enough to overturn the brutal 4-0 defeat they endured against Roma in the first leg last week

Danny Welbeck’s first-half strike was enough to earn Brighton a 1-0 win on the night but not enough to overturn the brutal 4-0 defeat they endured against Roma in the first leg last week

The former England international slotted home in the 37th minute to hand Brighton a 1-0 lead

The former England international slotted home in the 37th minute to hand Brighton a 1-0 lead

Lewis Dunk applauds the fans after Brighton salvage some pride with a 1-0 win on the night

Lewis Dunk applauds the fans after Brighton salvage some pride with a 1-0 win on the night

Roberto De Zerbi's side will hope to regroup and finish the Premier League campaign strongly

Roberto De Zerbi’s side will hope to regroup and finish the Premier League campaign strongly

Neither Jan Paul van Hecke nor Lewis Dunk could head home crosses to secure that speedy breakthrough. While Liverpool were taking a 4-0 lead inside 14 minutes at Anfield, Brighton saw chances wasted at the Amex, with Billy Gilmour skying a volley and Pascal Gross dragging wide.

In the 22nd minute, Roma scored with a fine acrobatic finish from Sardar Azmoun which looped over Bart Verbruggen. It was disallowed for a high foot which the Italians insisted was harsh, earning manager Daniele De Rossi a caution for complaining.

Before the break, Welbeck made it 1-0 by stylishly finding the top corner from 18 yards, giving Brighton hope if they could follow that up with a quick second goal.

There were handbags as Gianluca Mancini did the Italian reputation for feigning injury no favours when he acted as if Van Hecke had violently headbutted him. Lorenzo Pellegrini pushed over Pervis Estupinan in the aftermath as Brighton headed in at half-time leading.

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino and co-sporting director Paul Winstanley were at the Amex to watch this match in person. Romelu Lukaku, on loan at Roma, scored in the first leg but did not travel for this second leg on the South Coast.

Jan Paul van Hecke puts his head in his hands after squandering a golden chance for Brighton

Jan Paul van Hecke puts his head in his hands after squandering a golden chance for Brighton

Roma defender and Italian international Gianluca Mancini (floor) sparked a furious reaction from Brighton's players after acting as if Van Hecke (right) had violently headbutted him

Roma defender and Italian international Gianluca Mancini (floor) sparked a furious reaction from Brighton’s players after acting as if Van Hecke (right) had violently headbutted him

De Zerbi receives a yellow card from referee Felix Zwaye midway through the second leg

De Zerbi receives a yellow card from referee Felix Zwaye midway through the second leg

At the start of the second half, Welbeck was an inch from heading in a fabulous cross from Ansu Fati, brought on by De Zerbi as they looked to pile the pressure on Roma. Needing three goals without reply, Simon Adingra should have buried a brilliant cross from Gross.

Roma still posed a threat with Leonardo Spinazzola striking the corner of the woodwork after a splendid run, though it was largely Brighton who were in charge.

By the end, Brighton had managed 21 shots, but only five on target. That told the story of a night in which they had enough chances to score, but lacked the clinical finishes required as they made their European exit.



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