Hughton head over heels with Brighton’s start

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Josh Mor­ris

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

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