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Brighton advances to Europa League knockout stages with unconvincing victory, thanks to Joao Pedro’s penalty kick

Brighton secures a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League after Joao Pedro’s second-half penalty earns a 1-0 victory away to 10-man AEK Athens. Pedro’s fifth goal of the competition guarantees the Seagulls a top-two finish in Group B.

The VAR-awarded spot-kick came in the 55th minute, as Brighton were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half when AEK forward Steven Zuber struck a post. AEK was forced to play the final 25 minutes a man down after Mijat Gacinovic received a second yellow card.

The victory sets up Brighton to vie for first place in the pool and automatic qualification for the last 16 when Marseille visit the Amex Stadium in two weeks’ time. This win comes after an underwhelming start to their inaugural European campaign, but they are now in control of their own destiny.

Coach Roberto De Zerbi made four changes from their previous match and saw his injury-hit side start off strong but fade as the game went on. Despite an uninspiring performance, Brighton was able to hold on for the win and continue their European adventure.

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