Brighton and Hove Albion secured a crucial 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday.
The win boosts their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season. Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso’s stunning 30-yard strike in the 69th minute completed a turnaround for the Seagulls as they claimed their first league win at Stamford Bridge and moved within four points of fifth-placed Tottenham.
The hosts had taken the lead through Conor Gallagher’s deflected effort, but that was cancelled out by substitute Danny Welbeck before half-time.
Despite ending a three-game scoreless streak, Chelsea remain 11th in the table under caretaker boss Frank Lampard and are now without a win in six matches.
Brighton started the match on the front foot, with Alexis Mac Allister twice shooting wide from close range, and Evan Ferguson’s 20-yard effort rattling the crossbar. However, after weathering the early storm, Chelsea broke through in the 13th minute following a sweeping move that saw Mykhailo Mudryk feed Gallagher, whose first-time shot looped in via Lewis Dunk.
The visitors threatened to level with Kepa Arrizabalaga producing smart reflex saves to thwart Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma. But the equaliser eventually arrived three minutes before the break when Welbeck headed in a deep cross from Pascal Gross.
Chelsea almost regained their advantage in stoppage time, but the woodwork kept out Christian Pulisic’s header.
Brighton came out firing in the second half, with Enciso and Welbeck both going close to taking the lead. Enciso hit the post before Welbeck sent the rebound over, while Mudryk called Robert Sanchez into action at the other end.
But it was Enciso who ultimately made the difference, unleashing a thunderous shot from 30 yards that left Kepa grasping at thin air. The Paraguayan teenager has been in fine form since joining Brighton on loan from Olimpia Asunción in the January transfer window.
His stunning strike capped off a fine display from Brighton, who thoroughly deserved their victory over a lacklustre Chelsea side.
The win moves Brighton up to seventh in the Premier League table, just four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. With four games remaining, the Seagulls are firmly in the race for a place in next season’s Europa League.
The victory will also boost the morale of the Brighton squad, who have been struggling for form in recent weeks.