Brighton & Hove Albion have comfortably defeated Preston North End 2-0 in the third round of the EFL Cup at Deepdale. The Seagulls took the lead through Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the 56th minute and Alexis Mac Allister added a second in the 76th minute as Brighton will face Manchester United in the fourth round.
Story of the game
Both teams made positive starts to the match as the hosts were first to have a go as Billy Bodin found Brad Potts, whose cross is met by goalkeeper Jason Steele. Brighton youngster Viktor Gyokeres sent in a low cross that Patrick Bauer booted clear.
Preston tried to get aggressive as Tom Bayliss fouled Mac Allister, but the visitors could make nothing from the free kick. The Lilywhites slowly came into the game as Josh Harrop sent in a lovely cross to Bodin who mistimed his stride and from the resulting free kick, he was crowded out.
In the 19th minute, Pascal Gross made room for a cross with a stellar drag-back, but his cross is met by no one and after Harrop brought down Jahanbakhsh, he took a speculative effort that was always going to come to nothing. The Seagulls had to be on their toes as Jayden Stockley found Potts, who lost possession.
Jahanbakhsh continued to ask questions of the Preston defense first seeing a low shot blocked by Jordan Storey then breaking the offside trap on the half-hour mark only to see his blistering effort saved by Lilywhites goalkeeper Connor Ripley at the near post.
Stockley should have opened the scoring for the hosts as Paul Gallagher started the passage of play by finding Potts on the halfway line, he played it to Stockley, who rounds past Dan Burn, his shot tipped behind for a corner. The corner saw Patrick Bauer crash his effort off the bar.
Two minutes from halftime, Mac Allister nearly put Brighton ahead as he saw Ripley come out and instead of shooting, passed to Gyokeres, Bauer cutting the pass out. Three minutes after the restart, Bernardo fired a low cross in that took a deflection, nearly going in the far corner.
The visitors were really on top of things Gyokeres broke away, nearly finding Mac Allister, but Gallagher got in a timely intervention. Soon after, Brighton finally made all that pressure pay off as Jahanbakhsh took Bernardo's cross and lashed home a superlative volley past Ripley into the top left corner.
Brighton continued to press as Bauer had to divert a low cross and the ensuing cross was cleared. The Preston defense could only hold out for so long as Mac Allister converted Gross' cross to make it 2-0. Gyokeres then lashed a powerful effort that wasn't too far away.
That was the last meaningful action of the match as Brighton continue their excellent play with their third win on the trot and can now look forward to hosting one of the world's biggest clubs in the next round.
Man of the Match: Alireza Jahanbakhsh
He was at the heart of everything good for Brighton. Creating chances, sending in good crosses, setting up teammates with outstanding passes and finally scoring for himself, the Iranian put in a complete performance that was simply too much for Preston to handle.
Brighton continue their fine form
The Seagulls started their turnaround with a 4-0 victory over Portsmouth, continued it with a dominant 3-0 win over Newcastle United and eventually overwhelmed Preston today. Their class showed as Jahanbakhsh, Mac Allister and Gyokeres took over and were too much for the Lilywhites to handle, especially in their own half.