Cherries fall to late Mitoma header
- Craig Pawson
A late header from Kaoru Mitoma saw Brighton take all three points from an entertaining match at the American Express Community Stadium.
Gary O'Neil named debutants Hamed Traorè and Antoine Semenyo in his starting line-up as part of four changes to the side that faced Nottingham Forest a fortnight ago, Chris Mepham and Marcos Senesi the others returning to the side.
The first signs of Brighton's passing game showed early on when Undav was put through one-on-one, following a flowing move that started with Sanchez in goal. Neto was quick to react, though, racing out to produce a clean sliding challenge.
The score somehow remained goalless on 14 minutes when Brighton failed to take advantage of a triple-chance in the box. Undav intercepted Neto's pass on the edge of the penalty area, but a block from Mepham, a save from the Cherries shot-stopper and the post all prevented the home side from breaking the deadlock.
Bournemouth's first clear-cut chance came when Anthony and Zemura linked up well with a one-two down the left, the former squaring the ball for Lerma who was off-target with his well-struck effort.
That chance started with Traorè in the middle of the park, and the debutant continued to create for his new side, providing the link between midfield and attack.
A penalty appeal from Ouattara was checked by VAR but ultimately waved away after the contact by Estupinan wasn't deemed strong enough.
Anthony also found his way towards the six-yard box following a neat jinking run, but Veltman's block stopped the winger from pulling the trigger.
While Billing's long-range drive tested Sanchez on the stroke of half-time, the hosts had found their rhythm again and finished the stronger of the two teams. Danny Welbeck's header was comfortably claimed by Neto, while the striker couldn't connect strongly enough with Undav's ball across goal shortly afterwards.
Brighton started the second half brightly too, with half the ground thinking Gilmour had scored when his shot brushed the outside netting.
It was the Scot's last action as he was replaced by Caicedo just before the hour-mark, with Sarmiento also on for Welbeck in a double substitution.
Traorè's impressive debut for the Cherries came to an end when replaced by Ryan Christie moments later with Joe Rothwell also coming on for Billing during the game's quietest period for chances.
That lull ended on 68 minutes when Semenyo took the ball from his own half to go on a mazy run, winning a corner when his strike was blocked on the edge of the box.
The Cherries had a second shout for a penalty waved away when the ball struck Caicedo's hand in the box with around 10 minutes remaining, and again VAR didn't see enough to send the referee to review the incident.
As the game progressed, Mitoma looked like Brighton's greatest threat and he forced an excellent stop from Neto in the 85th minute. He darted into space in the left side of the area and prodded a shot towards the near post but found the Brazilian shot-stopper perfectly placed to make the save.
However, Mitoma did get the better of the goalkeeper two minutes later as he met Sarmiento's cross and headed home. Neto tried to claw the ball away from the line but was unable to keep it out.
The Cherries tried to pull something back in the final minutes but, other than Zemura's right-footed cross bouncing narrowly wide of the far post, they were unable to get back on level terms.
Brighton: Sanchez, Lamptey (Buonanotte, 75), Veltman, Dunk, Estupinan; Gilmour (Caicedo, 57), Gross; March (Webster, 89), Undav (Enciso, 75), Mitoma; Welbeck (Sarmiento, 57)
Unused subs: van Hecke, Offiah, Moran, Steele (g/k).
Booked: Veltman, Dunk, Caicedo.
Cherries: Neto; Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Zemura; Lerma, Billing (Rothwell, 66); Ouattara, Traorè (Christie, 61), Anthony (Viña, 85); Semenyo.
Unused subs: Stacey, Moore, Pollock, Greenwood, Kinsey-Wellings, Travers (g/k).
Referee: Craig Pawson.