With his squad reduced to 10 after Leandro Trossard’s injury and well after 10 minutes of stoppage time, Neal Maupay scored a second equalizer late in four days to save another point for Brighton as Southampton succumbed to a another spectacular collapse. Graham Potter had used all three substitutes when Trossard was forced out with a suspected dislocated elbow but, just as defeat seemed inevitable, Maupay came in at close range after Jakub Moder’s free kick fell gently into the box. Brighton’s delusional support threw a blue rocket onto the pitch and Southampton, whose players collapsed to the ground in full-time consolation, ended up getting booed.
This was not how Ralph Hasenhüttl, one of Ralf Rangnick’s proteges, was hoping to mark his third birthday in charge of Southampton. They had led by Armando Broja, who was a bit slow for Southampton, but there was no doubt his skills in attack. Hasenhüttl kept Broja excited at the start of the season by criticizing his pace of work, but knowing he had a deadly finisher at his disposal and the Albanian striker, who replaced Adam Armstrong in the starting lineup, scored his third goal of the season in his fourth league start. Broja scored twice on his Newport debut in the EFL Cup and another compound finish added to his impressive tally. He has eight goals in 17 games for club and country this season.
A few chances at either end had been and gone by the time Broja casually opened the scoring as the half hour approached. It was a painful goal from Brighton’s perspective, with Southampton center-back Lyanco – the other change from Wednesday’s draw against Leicester – sending Robert Sánchez a kick from where he came from. Nathan Redmond threw the ball behind the Brighton baseline with a deadweight header and Broja pounced with Sánchez in his sights. Broja was asked to immediately aim for home support but had other ideas. He pretended to shoot through the goal, prompting Shane Duffy to take on a desperate challenge, leaving the Brighton substitute captain to slip onto his back as the striker darted in before finding the net with the outside of his right boot.
Broja had already sparkled. He had an early shot repelled by Sánchez after a quick counterattack from Southampton and minutes later the Chelsea player showed his skill, scooping the ball away from three Brighton players – Duffy, Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma – before driving to the goal at a sharp angle. Another player with connections to Chelsea, Tino Livramento, who signed on a permanent basis this summer, performed a volley after Southampton recycled a typically dangerous James Ward-Prowse corner and at the other end, Enock Mwepu and Trossard forced Alex McCarthy to smart saves.
Southampton enjoyed the best of the first half, but for a side that struggled to eliminate teams – only Burnley and Newcastle have lost more than the 12 points they have wasted in gaining positions this season – it There was nervousness in the stands as to how the second half was going to go. Such concern surely would have been allayed if Broja had added her second five minutes after the break. Redmond stole the ball and freed Livramento, who framed the ball for Broja in the box. But with the goal gaping, the striker missed it wide.
Brighton struggled to break through Southampton’s defense but Maupay, who saved a point midweek with a spectacular overhead kick, came close to another valuable equalizer. Brighton located him just inside the box and he looped a narrow shot off, leaving Graham Potter’s assistant Billy Reid to kick heel to the edge of the technical zone at the end of the box. ‘outside. Then came another big chance with 13 minutes left. Substitute Aaron Connolly located Maupay to his left but McCarthy pushed the ball away with his right boot.
Brighton was reduced to 10 when Trossard was swept away after receiving extensive medical treatment following a collision with Redmond. Brighton might have been a light man, but they continued to probe and in the eighth minute of the stoppage time Maupay rocked a memorable leveler.