Julio Enciso’s beautiful long-range strike secured Brighton’s qualification for the Europa League in a 1-1 draw with Manchester Metropolis on Wednesday.
The Paraguay worldwide unleashed an unstoppable effort from round 25 meters to even the rating after Phil Foden had fired 2022/23 Premier League champion Metropolis forward at Amex Stadium.
A degree means Brighton is assured to complete sixth, its highest-ever last place in English soccer’s prime flight.
It marks an impressive first season in cost for supervisor Roberto de Zerbi, who solely took over from Graham Potter in September after the previous Brighton boss left for Chelsea.
“It’s a implausible purpose, we achieved an unimaginable goal,” De Zerbi stated. “Man Metropolis is the very best group on the earth. For us it was a really robust sport. We deserve the purpose. We deserve the Europa League.”
The membership confronted an unsure future on the time however has gone on to flourish underneath the Italian, who additionally led the group to the semifinals of the FA Cup this season.
Sixth place beats Brighton’s earlier highest end of ninth, which it achieved underneath Potter final yr.
“You by no means know within the early a part of the season what might occur once you rent a brand new coach,” Brighton chairman Tony Bloom stated. “Fortuitously we employed the right man. The gamers have taken to him so magnificently. His motivational expertise, tactical expertise and getting the very best out of our gamers has been completely very good.”
The draw ended Metropolis’s 12-game profitable streak within the league, which had seen Pep Guardiola’s group overhaul long-time chief Arsenal on the prime and win a fifth title six years.
With a 3rd league championship already wrapped up, Metropolis had little to play for apart from bettering its factors complete.
“The sport we performed, 48 hours after we drank all of the alcohol in Manchester, 48 hours later we behaved and we confirmed why we had been the champions in opposition to that group,” Guardiola joked in reference to Metropolis’s title celebrations on Sunday.
Having rested quite a lot of his star gamers in opposition to Chelsea on Sunday, Guardiola recalled Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne to his beginning lineup, with John Stones, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva additionally again.
Haaland twice had probabilities to open the scoring earlier than turning supplier for Foden to place Metropolis forward within the twenty fifth minute.
On the different finish, Danny Welbeck had already hit the crossbar with a free-kick.
The equaliser got here from Enciso and it was a strike worthy of sending his group to the heights of the Europa League as he launched a right-footed shot into the highest nook within the thirty eighth.
Haaland thought he had scored his 53rd purpose of the season with a late header, but it surely was dominated out by VAR after he was adjudged to have pulled Levi Colwill’s shirt beforehand.