Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Israeli striker Tomer Hemed’s 51st-minute goal earned Brighton and Hove Albion a 1-0 victory over last season’s Championship sparring partners Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.
Hemed struck early in the second half at the Amex Stadium to give Brighton manager Chris Hughton a first victory over the club he previously managed at the seventh attempt.
It was a measure of revenge for Brighton, who were defeated home and away by Newcastle last season as Rafael Benitez’s side beat them to the English second-tier title.
“It was a hard-fought victory,” Hughton told Sky Sports.
“Overall we deserved it. There was not a lot in it, but we’ve deserved it. With seven points, it is a decent return. We have learnt a lot in the games we have played so far.”
Brighton have now claimed successive home wins, having beaten West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in their previous home outing, and climb to 13th in the table.
Newcastle slip to ninth after their three-match winning streak come to an end.
“We did enough to get a point at least,” Benitez said.
“The goal for me was a foul — pushing and blocking. But you cannot change the decision.
“We deserved more. We are still without too much experience in the Premier League. We have to manage these situations a bit better.”
Brighton made most of the first-half running and might have gone ahead earlier had Anthony Knockaert not inadvertently blocked Pascal Gross’s goal-bound shot from Solly March’s left-wing cross.
Newcastle carved out the clearer chances, Joselu dragging agonisingly wide after Ayoze Perez’s cross fell into his path and Perez side-footing over the bar from Chancel Mbemba’s lay-off.
But defensive inattention undid the visitors in the 51st minute as Gross’s free-kick from the left was headed back across goal by Dale Stephens and Hemed hooked a close-range shot into the roof of the net.
It took a goal-line block by Rob Elliot to keep Newcastle in the game, the goalkeeper jutting out his right foot to divert the ball off the line after March slid in to meet Bruno’s drilled cross from the right.
Jonjo Shelvey entered the fray as Newcastle sought an equaliser and the former Liverpool midfielder almost provided one in the 73rd minute with an enterprising corner kick that clanged off the post.