Ferguson hits double as Brighton seal European spot

 

Evan Ferguson of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates with teammate Alexis Mac Allister after scoring the team's first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton FC at American Express Community Stadium on May 21, 2023 in Brighton, England.

Evan Ferguson scored twice in the first half as Brighton beat Southampton in the Premier League to secure European football for the first time in their history.

The 18-year-old forward opened the scoring with a powerful low shot past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy before doubling the Seagulls’ advantage with a first-time finish from inside the area.

Mohamed Elyounoussi’s glancing header offered the visitors brief hope of a comeback but Pascal Gross fired in a third to seal victory for the hosts.

Brighton strengthened their grip on sixth place in the table and have all-but qualified for next season’s Europa League because of their superior goal difference over seventh-placed Aston Villa.

A point from their two remaining matches will confirm a sixth-placed finish but victory over their south-coast rivals assures Brighton of a Europa Conference League spot at the very least.

Southampton, whose relegation was confirmed with their defeat by Fulham last time out, will finish their top-flight campaign against Liverpool at St Mary’s next Sunday.

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