Roberto De Zerbi praised an “incredible” reaction after Brighton recovered to draw with Marseille (Daniel Cole/AP)
Roberto De Zerbi praised an “incredible” reaction from Brighton after they recovered from two goals down at the Stade Velodrome to salvage a point against Marseille and keep alive their hopes of progressing in the Europa League.
Substitute Joao Pedro scored an 88th-minute penalty to earn a 2-2 draw that kept Brighton in contention in Group B following their defeat to AEK Athens two weeks ago, the striker slotting home coolly after Tariq Lamptey had been tripped.
A draw had looked an unlikely outcome when Marseille struck twice in the space two first-half minutes, the first a low finish from former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba, then a strike by Jordan Veretout that went through the hands of goalkeeper Jason Steele after Lewis Dunk had given the ball away with a poor mis-kick.
Brighton weathered the Marseille storm, too often giving the ball away cheaply when in possession but surviving to go in only two down at the break, before launching a comeback early in the second period when Pascal Gross slotted home from Kaoru Mitoma’s cutback.
From there on De Zerbi’s team were on top, and it came as just rewards when Pedro was given the chance to level from the spot and salvage their hope of progressing to the knockout rounds.
The manager said he was concerned by the way his injury-hit side have played recently but praised their powers of recovery in the south of France, particularly coming off the back of Saturday’s 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
“I want to be honest more than other days, other games,” De Zerbi said. “I think we are not playing well, it’s a very tough period for us in this moment. It’s difficult toRead on belfasttelegraph.co.uk