Brighton's Welbeck equalizes late to secure draw vs. Crystal Palace
LONDON (AP) — The Premier League’s hectic festive schedule was launched Thursday with another 1-1 draw between rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton, for whom Danny Welbeck grabbed an 82nd-minute equalizer at Selhurst Park.
Welbeck, a second-half substitute, rose to meet Pascal Gross’ inswinging cross with a looping header that found the top corner.
That canceled out Jordan Ayew’s opener in the first minute of first-half stoppage time that arose from a mistake by Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen. The Dutch keeper’s weak clearance went straight to Michael Olise, who headed to Will Hughes and received the ball back before crossing for Ayew to head home.
It meant Brighton conceded for a 22nd straight league game — the club’s longest ever run without a clean sheet.
It was a fifth straight 1-1 draw between the teams at Selhurst Park.
“It’s frustrating — we played a really good first half, I don’t remember them having clear cut chances, but Danny Welbeck scores a fantastic goal," Palace defender Joachim Andersen said. “We played a decent match but just got tired in the second half.”
After a slow start, Brighton dominated a match between clubs separated by 46 miles (74 kilometers), which doesn’t make it a typical local rivalry by English soccer standards.
Palace is the nearest big club to Brighton, a city on the south coast, and their rivalry appears to only have sprouted since the 1970s as they rose together up the leagues.
Brighton climbed one place to eighth, above West Ham only on goal difference. Palace stayed in 15th in the 20-team division, nine points above the relegation zone.
It marked the start of a 13-day period when there is at least one match on all but two of the days, at a time when many leagues around Europe take a winter break.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer