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UEFA Europa League

Brighton beat Ajax for first ever win in European competition

Brighton claimed a historic first win in European football against Ajax to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Europa League knockout stages.

The Seagulls are enjoying their first foray into this level of football and they lost their opening Group B game at home to AEK Athens before drawing at Marseille.

But against European veterans Ajax they enjoyed a famous night at Amex Stadium as goals from Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati secured victory.

“We have got the first victory in Europe for Brighton,” manager Roberto de Zerbi told TNT Sports.

“It is a great day for our fans, our club, our owner and we are very proud to give them this day.”

Pedro got his fourth goal in the Europa League just before half time, driving in a loose ball after Kaoru Mitoma’s fine strike was parried by Ajax goalkeeper Diant Ramaj.

It got even better after the break as Brighton scored a slick second, Simon Adingra playing a superb ball for Fati, who took two touches inside the box before sending the ball into the corner of the net.

Steven Berghuis reminded Brighton not to let their guard down as he struck the post for Ajax, but that was one of few chances for the visitors as the Seagulls closed out a comfortable win.

A magical night for Brighton

These are moments to treasure for Brighton fans.

Back in 1994-95, as Ajax were winning a fourth European Cup, Brighton had just completed another campaign in the third tier of English football, finishing 16th.

Facing such illustrious opponents – albeit in a difficult moment in their history – highlights the progress the Seagulls have made over recent years and fans packed out the stadium on Thursday for what was undoubtedly the hottest ticket in town.

The atmosphere was superb before kick-off, as supporters were encouraged to wave their scarves in the air – but they then had to be patient once the game got under way.

Ajax, who are second bottom in the Eredivisie after the worst start to a season in their history, sat deep in order to frustrate their opponents – and it almost worked until a moment of magic from Mitoma got the breakthrough.

Brighton picked their way through the packed defence before the Japan forward cut inside and hammered a shot that was parried to Pedro, who fired home.

From then on the home side grew in confidence and Fati’s fine second-half goal ensured Brighton fans could confidently celebrate this moment in history.

“We played a great game, we played very well,” De Zerbi added.

“We deserved to win, maybe with more goals, but the most important news is that we didn’t concede a goal.”

Credit: BBC Sport

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