Brighton 1-0 Marseille: João Pedro nets late winner as Seagulls top the table

Needing to defeat Olympique Marseille at the AMEX on Thursday to avoid a two-legged playoff tie, Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton would be fully aware of the task at hand as they welcomed one of Europe’s fiercest sides to the South Coast.

BHA: Steele; Igor, Dunk, van Hecke, Hinshelwood; Groß, Gilmour; Mitoma, Buonanotte, Adingra; Pedro

OM: Lopez; Balerdi, Mbemba, Meïté; Lodi, Ounahi, Veretout, Clauss; Harit, Aubameyang, Vitinha

Brighton looked set to be held to a goalless draw on Thursday, as resolute defending from Marseille saw the visitors keep a foot firmly in the door for European progression.

Seagulls fans would take solace in the fact Jonathan Clauss’ deflected strike in the first half had failed to find the back of the net, but when Amine Harit found the base of the post at the start of the second half, tensions were palpably high.

João Pedro had other ideas though, creating space inside the penalty area in the 88th minute to thunder a strike into the top corner – ensuring the two sides swap places in the group standings as Brighton take the automatic qualification spot.

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Brighton will enjoy a lengthy break from European football for the time being as they await news on who they’ll face in March’s round-of-sixteen. Marseille will return a month prior, disputing a two-legged playoff.