WOLVERHAMPTON (Reuters) – Brighton & Hove Albion went top of the Premier League table with a clinical 4-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, scoring three goals in a devastating nine-minute spell in the second half.
Brighton, who also beat Luton Town 4-1 in their league opener, have six points and a healthy goal difference at the top, while winless Wolves are bottom under new manager Gary O’Neil, who took charge two days before the season kicked off.
Kaoru Mitoma opened the scoring for Brighton in the 15th minute with a sensational solo goal when he received the ball on the left flank and went on a mazy run, skipping past challenges with ease.
The Japanese winger cut inside and shrugged off a tug before putting on a sudden burst of speed to race past the last line of defence and curl the ball past the onrushing keeper Jose Sa.
He turned provider in the first minute of the second half when he pounced on a parried save from Sa, drawing the defence towards him before cutting the ball back for the unmarked Pervis Estupinan to fire home.
Solly March then scored twice in four minutes, with Julio Enciso assisting him on both occasions as they easily got in behind Wolves’ high defensive line.
Enciso assisted his first with a sublime outside-of-the-boot pass after Brighton exploited the acres of space at their disposal behind Wolves’ defence.
The second goal was a near carbon copy but from the right flank as Enciso found March again, who scored from close range for his third goal of the season.
“If you’re in the right positions, you’re going to get chances. Both my goals came from busting a gut, so if I keep doing that I’ll get more goals,” March said.
“We’ve got two or three players in every position. Maybe we didn’t have that last year and that can help us kick on this year. If we keep our foot on the pedal and believing, we’ll hopefully have a great season again.”
Wolves finally woke up and got on the board just after the hour-mark when a Pablo Sarabia corner saw substitute Hwang Hee-Chan head the ball through the crowd into the far corner.
But their day only got worse when Matheus Nunes was sent off for a second yellow card in injury time after the Portuguese midfielder took his frustration out by pushing Brighton players to the ground.
“They are a top side. We didn’t take our chances, they did. The margins in football are really fine and we saw that today,” Wolves defender Maximilian Kilman said.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pritha Sarkar)
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