Nicolas Jackson strike earns Chelsea much-needed cup victory over Brighton

By Sports Desk September 27, 2023

Chelsea earned respite from their difficult start to the season under Mauricio Pochettino as Nicolas Jackson’s second-half goal gave them a 1-0 win against Brighton in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying visitors dominated possession for much of the game but home fans witnessed their side put on an effective counter-attacking display at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had gone three games without scoring, but that run ended when Jackson struck early in the second half after being set up by Cole Palmer, planting a composed finish into the corner to ease his personal struggles in front of goal.

Pochettino made five changes from the side beaten by Aston Villa on Sunday, with Palmer brought in for his first start.

The former Manchester City forward began in an advanced three alongside Mykhailo Mudryk and Ian Maatsen, but was at his most effective when dropping to receive the ball deep, seeking out the critical final-third passes that have eluded Chelsea and meant they have scored just five league goals in six games.

Jackson had an early sight of goal, winning the ball on the edge of Brighton’s box and hitting a left-footed drive that deflected over.

Robert Sanchez was one of three former Brighton players in the Chelsea line-up and twice in the first period the goalkeeper almost gifted his former side the lead, first passing the ball straight to the feet of Joao Pedro who chipped it inches over the bar, then putting Moises Caicedo under pressure in a central position. He was dispossessed by Carlo Baleba, who rolled the ball to Ansu Fati to fire wide from the best opening of the half.

Brighton had enjoyed 66 per cent possession by the half-hour mark, leaving Chelsea to look for openings on the break.

The lively Mudryk ran in behind from Caicedo’s defence-splitting pass, only for Tariq Lamptey to slide in with an expertly timed intervention.

Minutes later, Mudryk turned provider, latching on to Levi Colwill’s forceful tackle that sent the ball spinning upfield and crossing low to the near post for Palmer to side-foot wide under pressure from Igor Julio.

Chelsea had endured their worst start to a season in 45 years but relief looked finally to have arrived five minutes after half-time.

Maatsen received the ball centrally and laid it into the feet of Palmer, who had been a lurking first-half threat playing between the lines. He tucked it in cleverly to Jackson, who wrong-footed Bart Verbruggen to guide home his second goal for the club.

It was just the third time this season that Pochettino had seen his team take the lead, and they should have gone further in front when Mudryk’s energetic midfield pressing won the ball and set Jackson away, but this time the goalkeeper got the best of their duel after spreading himself well.

Home fans thought Jackson had scored the second goal his performance deserved when he slotted home from Palmer’s pass, but the offside flag cut short celebrations.

Brighton had late chances to level, first when Pervis Estupinan collected a raking ball and ran it to the byline, but no one had gambled as his cross fizzed across goal.

Pedro then thumped a volley over the bar from Axel Disasi’s weak headed clearance but Chelsea held on to finally hand Pochettino room to breathe.

Related items

  • 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid

    Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes the European champions have brought in someone special with the signing of Kylian Mbappe.

    France star Mbappe announced he was leaving Paris Saint-Germain in May before making the move to Madrid earlier this month, ending a years-long transfer saga involving the two teams and the striker.

    The 25-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the winners of LaLiga, who he will join as a free agent in July after his contract with PSG expires, with Brazil sensation Endrick also set to arrive in the Spanish capital.

    With Mbappe joining a side containing a wealth of talent already, which recently captured the Champions League, Casillas is impressed by the squad that Madrid have put together.

    "Mbappe is a very good player," Casillas said. "Everyone wants to have him; anyone would have him in their respective team.

    "Real Madrid have a brilliant president and brilliant people around them. Forming a team like this is something impressive.

    "You can learn a little from the past and in that sense give some continuity to the team as a great club with great players.

    "Real Madrid has them. We will see how they continue to mesh and how they can continue giving joy to the fans."

    Mbappe was tipped to be one of the most influential players at Euro 2024, but his tournament looked in danger of ending early when he suffered a broken nose in France’s opening game against Austria.

    "With Mbappe out, France may suffer a little," two-time Euros champion Casillas added, with Mbappe's status for France's next matches uncertain.

    "But France have a team with very good players and there has been a bit of a revolution by Didier Deschamps.

    "So France can certainly still be a contender and get to the final of the Euros, but we now must see if France can play as well without him."

    Spain are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the European Championships, with Casillas captaining the side in both 2008 and 2012, while also leading them to World Cup glory in 2010.

    This year, Spain have a more youthful look to the squad, with Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest-ever player to appear at the Euros at 16 years and 338 days old.

    The teenager got an assist in Spain’s 3-0 win over Croatia in their first match of the tournament, and Casillas is pleased to see Luis de la Fuente giving young players a chance on the big stage.

    He said: "It is good to see that young players continue to emerge in football in Spain and are being considered stars of the future. It is good for the entire team.

    "Only [Yamal] can prove if he will be a great player - solely and exclusively, him, and of course, the trust and effort that goes in.

    "Let's see, with the confidence and maturity he has, plus the other team-mates who will support him, if he can become a very good player for Spain.

    "We know that the strength of the team comes from the depth and we need to continue having these players emerge."
     

    Iker Casillas is a brand ambassador for Hisense's UEFA EURO 2024 campaign BEYOND GLORY which celebrates the relentless pursuit of excellence shared by professional footballers aiming for EURO honours and Hisense’s commitment to pushing boundaries in the home appliance industry.

  • Spalletti: Italy will not make 'mistake' of underestimating Spain Spalletti: Italy will not make 'mistake' of underestimating Spain

    Luciano Spalletti says Italy will be true to their identity but will not make the "huge mistake" of underestimating Spain in their heavyweight Group B clash.

    Italy opened Euro 2024 with a 2-1 win over Albania on Saturday, coming from behind after conceding the fastest goal ever scored in the tournament's history after 23 seconds.

    Spain, meanwhile, cruised to a 3-0 victory over Croatia, leaving both sides joint-top of the group going into their meeting in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

    The winner of the tie will take a big step towards qualifying top of the group, earning the theoretically easier pathway through the knockout stages.

    Asked how Italy were planning to deal with the threat Spain posed, Spalletti instead chose to praise their opponents for their style of play.

    "We have the utmost respect for Spain's history and prestige and the quality of this current crop of players," the head coach said. "But we mustn't think that you're better than you actually are. That would be a huge mistake.

    "We are dressed in Giorgio Armani and Giorgio Armani is world-famous. So, we go there with the same suit, try and be true to our identity and play the same way.

    "But, of course, we need to show the same desire as our opposition to test ourselves against one of the best footballing philosophies in world football.

    "Once we are off the pitch, we need to make sure we have no regrets. We need to try and play our own game in our best clothes, but we are willing to scuff up our suit if required."

    Spalletti was able to use Nicolo Barella in their opening game, with the midfielder starting and scoring after emerging as a major doubt through injury in the build-up to the tournament.

    The 65-year-old was keeping his cards close to his chest about his team selection for Thursday's game.

    "I've not had any news on who's starting for Spain," Spalletti added.

    "It is one of the most important matches of my career. I've already been through some important games, but this is certainly one of those that's right up there.

    "We all have a story to tell. And when the players get to my age, they will know that they need to have stories to tell, and this is one of those matches which could give them a tale to tell in the future."

  • Croatia 2-2 Albania: Gjasula the hero as he salvages late point for Eagles Croatia 2-2 Albania: Gjasula the hero as he salvages late point for Eagles

    Klaus Gjasula went from villain to hero for Albania after cancelling out his own goal with an equaliser in stoppage time to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw with Croatia.

    It looked like Ante Budimir had inspired Croatia to a comeback win, playing a part in two goals in two minutes after Qazim Laci's early strike, but they could not hold on.

    Albania led after just 11 minutes as Jasir Asani curled a delightful cross into the near post for Laci, who glanced his header past Dominik Livakovic at his near post.

    They should have been 3-0 up at the break; Croatia were cut open by Asani's throughball, but Kristjan Asllani's drilled effort was straight at the goalkeeper, who later held onto Rey Manaj's flicked header.

    Zlatko Dalic's side came out determined for the second half, but it was not until Budimir's introduction in the 69th minute that it all came together.

    Five minutes later, he deftly flicked the ball to Kramaric, who wrong-footed Thomas Strakosha to slot an equaliser into the bottom corner to mark his 33rd birthday.

    Just like against Italy on Saturday, Albania struggled to regain their composure. Moments later, Budimir's cutback was struck by Luka Susic, but Berat Djimsiti's block bounced off the unfortunate Gjasula and into the back of the net.

    Deep into stoppage time, Gjasula atoned for that incident, latching onto Mario Mitaj's cross to sweep a low shot past Livakovic and into the bottom-left corner.

    Data Debrief: Substitutes light up the game

    Gjasula is just the second player to score a goal and an own goal in a single game at the Euros, after Anton Ondrus for Czechoslovakia against the Netherlands in 1976.

    Despite only playing for 21 minutes, Budimir's introduction also proved an inspired choice by Dalic. Only Andrej Kramaric (three in 90 minutes) created more chances for Croatia than the substitute (two).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.