LUALUA THE BRIGHTON STAR

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham

HIS cel­e­bra­tion may not have scored a per­fect ten but Kazenga LuaLua danced Brighton to the top of the Cham­pi­onship af­ter an en­thralling af­ter­noon at Port­man Road.

The fly­ing winger only man­aged to score four times dur­ing the whole of the last cam­paign.

He has al­ready matched that to­tal less than a month in af­ter net­ting the first and set­ting up the win­ner in a five-goal thriller which saw Brighton leapfrog Ip­swich and move to the top of the Cham­pi­onship.

In a break­neck 90 min­utes, Brighton raced into a two-goal lead af­ter just 12 min­utes thanks to LuaLua and Tomer Hemed, the Is­raeli striker get­ting the mer­est of touches to Dale Stephens’ wickedly in-swing­ing free-kick.

Woe­ful in the first half, Ip­swich fought back fol­low­ing the in­ter­val with Fred­die Sears keep­ing up his own great start to the sea­son and David McGoldrick equal­is­ing from the penalty spot.

But par­ity was re­stored for just 127 sec­onds when Hemed met LuaLua’s cross to head past Dean Gerken and claim the points.

LuaLua signed his goal off with a trade­mark back­flip and although a stum­ble ru­ined the land­ing, he earned top marks from Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

Hughton said: “I have known Kazenga for a long time, from when I was at New­cas­tle and he was a young player.

“He has al­ways had the abil­ity but he came back pre-sea­son in very good shape and he is now play­ing more 90 min­utes than he has done.

“But he de­serves that as he is re­ally show­ing a good work ethic for the team. His goals are a con­se­quence of how well he is play­ing.

“We were the bet­ter team at 2-0, but the only dis­ap­point­ment for me was that we al­lowed them to come back to 2-2, which I didn’t think was a fair re­flec­tion of the game.

“But we showed great char­ac­ter to go on and win the game and over­all I thought we had the right bal­ance be­tween de­fend­ing well and break­ing quickly.”

Hughton had a point. Two quick­fire goals could have been added to had Sam Bal­dock scored when clean through and Stephens not can­noned a shot off the post just af­ter the restart.

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