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Alireza Jahanbakhsh's bicycle kick denies Chelsea win against Brighton

Jahanbakhsh's late bicycle-kick goal earns Brighton a point against Chelsea

Brighton & Hove Albion attacker Alireza Jahanbakhsh's spectacular overhead kick earned the Seagulls a share of the points against Chelsea and dampened Blues boss Frank Lampard's New Year celebrations yesterday.

Kicking off a packed day of top-flight action, Chelsea's 1-1 draw on England's south coast meant they missed out on the chance to pull seven points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United ahead of their visit to Arsenal this morning (Singapore time).

Cesar Azpilicueta gave the visitors an early lead, tapping in from close range following a corner in the 10th minute, but Brighton were never out of it and pulled level in the 84th minute courtesy of Jahanbakhsh's moment of magic.

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(Alireza Jahanbakhsh 84) (Cesar Azpilicueta 10)

The Iranian produced an early contender for Goal of the Year with a superb overhead kick that flew into the bottom left corner, giving Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga no chance.

"It is an amazing feeling. When I was about to go on, I had a feeling I could have an impact on the game," Jahanbakhsh, who scored his first Brighton goal in last week's 2-0 win over Bournemouth, told the BBC.

"When I saw the ball, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could and the bicycle kick was the only option. I'm going to watch it a couple more times.

"I'm very glad to help the team win points. I couldn't have started the year any better... We did a great job."

Chelsea were quickly on top from the start, but Brighton came into the contest as it wore on, enjoying a spell of possession towards the end of the first half.

Leandro Trossard tested Kepa with a powerful strike, but the Spaniard parried the shot with his right hand.

Lampard's team were again dominant after the break. Christian Pulisic came close to doubling Chelsea's lead after 55 minutes while N'Golo Kante and Reece James were denied.

But Brighton kept battling and Kepa was forced to produce an outstanding save from Aaron Connolly in the 80th minute as the hosts pushed for an equaliser.

Their persistence paid off minutes later. Lewis Dunk kept the ball alive from a corner-kick and Jahanbakhsh's acrobatics did the rest.

Lampard said he was frustrated by their inability to kill off the game in the opening period.


"In the first half, the game was there to be won. We weren't ruthless enough," he said.

"We got the goal and we had the possession. But we just didn't kill the game off.

"We allowed them to stay in the game. In the end, it was a wonder goal but we were lucky not to lose.

"The tactics matched up for both teams but they were better than us. We have to take that on the chin."

The Blues' loosening grip on a top-four spot is certainly a cause for concern for owner Roman Abramovich.

Earlier yesterday, the club announced that they had recorded a loss of £96.6 million (S$171.4m) for the year ending June 30, citing a lack of Champions League football as the main reason.

In yesterday's other early kick-off, Aston Villa beat Burnley 2-1 despite seeing Jack Grealish's early effort controversially chalked off by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Wesley put Villa ahead in the 27th minute and captain Grealish doubled his side's advantage four minutes before the break as his powerful effort found the top corner.

Chris Wood pulled a goal back for Burnley with 10 minutes left. - REUTERS, AFP