Brighton made a winning start to their Premier League campaign with late goals from Neal Maupay and Alexis Mac Allister. Burnley took the lead via a second-minute James Tarkowski header, which stood following a VAR check after Brighton claims that the defender had fouled Maupay, and the hosts went on to rattle the woodwork twice before half-time, Johann Berg Gudmundsson hitting the post and Ben Mee the bar.
The visitors subsequently capitalised on those near-misses after the break as two players helped them turn things around shortly after entering the fray. Jakub Moder teed up Maupay’s equaliser in the 73rd minute with Mac Allister netting the winner five minutes later.
“The substitutes absolutely played their part,” Graham Potter told the Brighton website. “It was a fantastic team performance, especially in the second half considering we got off to the worst possible start. Burnley made it difficult for us and we rode our luck a bit in the first half.”
The first competitive match at the ground with no restriction on attendance since March 2020 saw plenty of noise generated by the crowd as kick-off approached – including some boos as players took the knee, as well as applause.
Then Burnley fans were cheering within moments of the contest getting under way after Tarkowski sent Ashley Westwood’s corner past Robert Sánchez. Brighton protested that Tarkowski had fouled Maupay before heading in, the pair having collided as the Burnley defender moved towards the goal and Maupay ended up on the turf, but the effort was allowed to stand following a VAR check.
The hosts subsequently picked up two bookings in quick succession, with yellow cards being shown to Gudmundsson for a challenge on Yves Bissouma, and Tarkowski after another clash with Maupay, which resulted in a free-kick that Solly March sent into Nick Pope’s arms.
Gudmundsson then almost made it 2-0 in the 19th minute when his low strike come back off the post. Another Tarkowski-Maupay challenge led to a booking for the Brighton striker, before Jay Rodriguez’s shot brought a save out of Sánchez.
Burnley went close to doubling their lead again in the 36th minute as skipper Mee headed against the bar and the ball bounced down on the line, with Tarkowski firing the followup over. At the other end, Shane Duffy headed over and Pope had little trouble catching an acrobatic attempt by Maupay.
The opening stages of the second half saw a Maupay shot deflect off target and Gudmundsson curl a free-kick wide. Rodriguez going down in the box under the attentions of Duffy sparked penalty calls from Burnley that were waved away by referee David Coote, and Leandro Trossard lofted an attempt wide of Pope’s goal just prior to the hour mark.
After Chris Wood saw a shot deflect behind, Potter made a change by bringing on Moder for Steven Alzate – and the substitute had a near immediate impact, sending a cross in from the right that the sliding Maupay converted to draw things level.
Moments later, Potter saw another substitution swiftly pay off as his side grabbed the lead, with Mac Allister, sent on for Trossard soon after the equaliser, slotting past Pope from Pascal Gross’s delivery.
“In the second half we controlled the game well and you have to do that here,” said Potter. “It’s a fantastic performance on the back of a challenging pre-season. I am really pleased for the boys.”