Nigeria defender Leon Balogun scored in the 31st minute to help Brighton & Hove Albion to an impressive 3-1 win against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
It was the first league goal of the season for the Super Eagles star for Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 30-year-old came on to replace Pascal Gross in the 30th minute at the time his side were under immense pressure after a red card to Shane Duffy at the American Express Community Stadium.
After containing plenty of early Brighton pressure, Palace carved out a great opportunity with their first incisive attack on 16 minutes when Max Meyer slipped Patrick van Aanholt in behind the defence but his cross was headed wide by Andros Townsend.
But soon after the flashpoints started coming thick and fast, beginning on 23 minutes when Kevin Friend handed the Seagulls a contentious spot-kick. Following a scramble inside the box involving Jose Izquierdo and a host of Palace defenders trying to clear their lines, the ball ricocheted back into the Colombian‘s path and James McArthur made what seemed to be a decent tackle as he nudged the ball away.
However, Friend deemed it to be a foul, handing Murray the chance to score in his third-straight game against his former club which he duly did, albeit via a flick off the crossbar.
That lit the blue touchpaper, and five minutes later things boiled over when Murray went down softly in the area under a James Tomkins challenge, prompting some heated words between Shane Duffy and Van Aanholt and the Seagulls defender inexplicably headbutting the Palace man, leading to a red card.
Chris Hughton swiftly shuffled his pack and sent on Balogun, and it proved to be an inspired move as seconds later he was celebrating as he volleyed in a half-cleared corner with his first touch to double the hosts’ lead.
In the fourth minute of injury-time and the Eagle probing around the Brighton box, a hopeful clearance allowed Andone to scamper down the left and beat Tomkins to the ball, push forward and advance into the area before brushing Tomkins off again to squeeze the ball past Wayne Hennessey and virtually end the contest with a half remaining.
After the break, Palace came close to finding a glimmer of hope when Meyer curled wide soon after play resumed but with Brighton sitting back knowing the result was all-but secured, a frustrated Eagles side found themselves camped in their opponents’ half but restricted to speculative long-rangers that ended up amongst the large travelling support.
But with 10 minutes to play, the deficit was reduced when Zaha was brought down inside the box by a Balogun challenge allowing Milivojevic to send Ryan the wrong way from 12 yards, however it would be too little, too late for the visitors who couldn’t set up the grandstand finish they desired
The impressive 3-1 result now puts Brighton on 21 points at 10th place after 15 round of matches in the English Premier League.