Hughton head over heels with Brighton’s start
BRIGHTON boss Chris Hughton picked out the performance of match-winner Kazenga LuaLua after his fine strike saw the Seagulls edge the Championship curtain-raiser on Friday evening.
The 24-year-old winger terrorised Nottingham Forest right-back Eric Lichaj all evening, and got his reward just after the interval, twisting and turning inside the box before rifling a firm left-footed strike into the far corner.
Dorus de Vries had already clawed out Tomer Hemed’s firsthalf header with an early contender for save of the season, while Forest’s Henri Lansbury and Brighton’s Beram Kayal both hit the outside of the post in the first half.
Forest did threaten late on after the introduction of Tyler Walker, who was twice denied by David Stockdale, while at the other end the impressive Solly March had a couple of chances to put the game out of reach.
But LuaLua’s secondhalf effort – celebrated with a somersault to the home fans’ delight – proved the difference for the hosts, although it was the Congolese’s allround showing that sent Hughton head over heels with delight.
“Your wide players have to work and he did a lot of good work defensively,” he said.
“Kazenga knows what I require and he had a good game both ways.You want your wingers to create and score.
“He has that ability but also you want a good all-round game. Kazenga is a winner.
“It’s a nice way to start the season. It was a typical Championship game, being fairly tight, but we deserved to win it.”
New signing Bobby Zamora was paraded before kick-off at the Amex Stadium, having returned to the Albion 12 years after leaving in search of Premier League football.
There was no room for him in Hughton’s squad however, with the 34-year-old still some way off match fitness, and Forest manager Dougie Freedman admitted he had injury concerns of his own after the game.
Midfielder Robert Tesche was forced off on 40 minutes after a strong challenge by Kayal, and Freedman believes his side were worthy of at least a point.
“Unfortunately Robert has broken his foot and it’s a big blow,” he said.
“It’s the last thing we need right now but it will give opportunities to others.
“I felt we were unfortunate to come in at half-time at 0-0, but our concentration let us down soon after the break.
“We went down to a sucker punch and it’s important for us to stay focused now.”
LET’S DANCE: Brighton’s Kazenga LuaLua enjoys his goal
STAR MAN KAZEN
GA LUALUA Brighto