UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE Brighton face tall order after heavy defeat away to AS Roma

Brighton will have to pull off something special to keep their Europa League campaign alive after suffering a 4-0 defeat away to AS Roma in the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

It was always going to be a tough ask against a Roma side now unbeaten in 12 home games in the competition, although the first-half goals by Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku came from Albion mistakes. Two more in four minutes midway through the second period by Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante gave Roma a comfortable cushion to take to the Amex next Thursday.

Albion will reflect on missed opportunities. Roma keeper Mile Svilar left Danny Welbeck frustrated with two brilliant saves from close-range headers and Simon Adingra’s early deflected shot hit the post, but it was another game when the absence of key players was keenly felt.

Roberto De Zerbi had shuffled the pack again with six changes. Billy Gilmour returned in the middle of his domestic ban and Igor Julio, Pascal Gross, Welbeck, Jan Paul van Hecke and Facundo Buonanotte came into the side beaten by Fulham.

Albion have encountered some hostile atmospheres in Europe this season but Roma’s Curve Sud took it to a new level. On the anniversary of the club’s foundation in 1927 they were at their flag-waving, foot-stomping, flare-detonating, raucous best – and they would have been cheering an early goal had it not been for Jason Steele’s reflexes when he flipped Lukaku’s close-range over in the third minute after Leonardo Spinazzola was given too much room on the left to find his teammate.

Lukaku dragged a shot wide after Steele’s pass was cut out but Albion were denied a goal by the width of the post in the seventh minute. Adingra collected Julio Enciso’s pass and cut inside and his shot rebounded off Evan N’Dicka and onto the upright.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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