It was a disappointing afternoon at Selhurst Park for Brighton & Hove Albion as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against arch-rivals Crystal Palace in the latest edition of the A23 derby.
Palace raced into a 2-0 lead within the first 20 minutes thanks to goals from Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins. Brighton responded swiftly with Glenn Murray's header to make it 2-1. Zaha restored the two-goal advantage with a delightful near post header to make it 3-1.
José Izquierdo was the next one to score and halved the deficit once again with a calm finish to make it 3-2. The first half was full of end-to-end action thanks to the five goals.
Palace held on in the second half to seal the victory and enjoy the spoils. Brighton had their fair share of chances, however, they failed to be clinical when it mattered.
Brighton's defence not at the races on the day
Mathew Ryan (6) - The Aussie keeper could have done better for Zaha's second goal and Tomkins' goal, made a few decent saves and improved his distribution in the second half. However, his mistakes were considerably lesser when compared to the rest of the defence.
Ezequiel Schelotto (5) - Schelotto had a nightmare marking Zaha for the entirety of the game. The Italian was struggling to get things right during the afternoon. He was inefficient in tracking back and rarely got into forward areas on the overlap and whenever he did, his final product left a lot more to be wanted. It was a bad day at the office for the former Sporting CP man, when compared to his recent solid displays.
Shane Duffy (5) - Duffy had one of his poorest 90 minutes of the season against the Eagles' attack. The big Irishman struggled to contain the threat of Zaha and Andros Townsend in Palace's attacking situations. Duffy also looked shaky on the ball and was at fault for Zaha's headed goal at the near post, he was unable to clear the ball and prevent the Ivorian from scoring a third, which was the final dent in Brighton's defence.
Lewis Dunk (6) - Much like his defensive partner, Dunk did not have a great game overall. He did well to lay the ball into Murray's path to pull the scoreline back to 2-1 in the first half. However, he was lucky to stay on the pitch as well, after the referee missed his two-foot lunge on Palace's Yohan Cabaye. His slight improvement in the second half was too little too late for his side to grab a share of the spoils of the derby.
Gaëtan Bong (6) - Bong had an average game down the left-hand side. He did well at times to contain Townsend's pace with his strength, however, his overall play in terms of getting forward and tracking back left a lot to be desired. Replaced by the young Solly March later in the final phase of the game.
Midfield was ineffective for the most part
Jürgen Locadia (6) - The Dutchman was a surprise inclusion by Hughton for this game. The Brighton boss intended to try something different and get a little something extra in attack for the Seagulls, however, his plans backfired. Apart from his assist for Izquierdo, Locadia did little to win the hearts of the traveling Brighton fans. He was replaced later by the returning Anthony Knockaert.
Dale Stephens (5) - Stephens had an uncharacteristically average game. The Brighton midfield general is usually very reliable, however, he lost his composure on several occasions throughout the game and his passing was at times ineffective as well. He missed the creative presence of Davy Pröpper alongside him in the heart of Brighton's midfield.
Beram Kayal (6) - Kayal replaced the Dutchman Pröpper in midfield alongside Stephens and was by far, the most consistent player on the pitch for Brighton. He distributed the ball well and was full of energy for most of the game.
José Izquierdo (7) - The Colombian winger was always a threat to Palace down the wing his darting runs and unpredictable nature of play. He did well to create opportunities for the likes of Murray and Groß in the attack. Calmly slotted the ball past Wayne Hennessey to make it 3-2 in the latter part of the first half.
Murray strangely wasteful with clear-cut chances
Pascal Groß (6) - It was another one of those afternoons for Groß, where he would not be very effective and therefore, he was substituted early in the second half by the Argentinian forward Leonardo Ulloa. The German failed to pull the strings from midfield for his side and was just not living up to the occasion.
Glenn Murray (6) - The 34-year-old could have had a hat-trick against his former club on the day, however, he was surprisingly wasteful with his glorious chances to score. He was expected to be at the centre of most chances and he was. Unfortunately, he could not add to his sweetly taken volley from Dunk's header in the first half.
Substitutes play a significant role
Anthony Knockaert (6) - The Frenchman came off the bench to replace Locadia in the second half and gave a better challenge to the Palace defence than Locadia did. However, his indecision in key areas was a matter of concern towards the latter part of the second half. Produced a great cross for Murray, however, the striker just couldn't capitalize on a golden chance to equalize.
Leonardo Ulloa (6) - The on-loan striker did well and stuck to his job of assisting Murray, acted as a secondary target man of sorts for the rest of his team as Brighton looked to go as direct as they possibly could towards the end of the game.
Solly March (6) - Replaced Bong quite late in the game, however, did have enough time to impress the travelling Brighton supporters. Produced some brilliant crosses from the left-wing, however, the Brighton forwards were just unable to be clinical when it most mattered.