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Premier League

Super Seagulls stun Watford in easy win, Palace hold Everton

Brighton narrowly avoided relegation last season but, with new manager Graham Potter at the helm, put that misery behind them with a fine win

An own goal by Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and second-half strikes by forwards Florin Andone and Neal Maupay gave Brighton & Hove Albion a superb 3-0 victory in their Premier League opener at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Brighton went ahead in the 28th minute after pouncing on a weak headed clearance by Watford’s Jose Holebas. Midfielder Pascal Gross volleyed a pass into the box which Doucoure diverted into his own net.

They doubled their lead 20 minutes into the second half when substitute Andone tucked in past goalkeeper Ben Foster after a neat cross from the right by midfielder Davy Propper.

Brighton defender Lewis Dunk then produced a fine through-ball from distance that Frenchman Maupay ran onto and converted from a difficult angle with his left foot to seal the victory with 13 minutes left.

The result meant Brighton boss Graham Potter made a winning start to life as a top-flight manager, having taken charge of the ambitious south-coast club following the departure of Chris Hughton after they narrowly avoided relegation last season.

Brighton host West Ham United in their next match while Watford are at former manager Marco Silva’s Everton.

CRYSTAL PALACE 0 EVERTON 0

Everton missed a string of chances to start their Premier League campaign on a winning note after they were held 0-0 at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The visitors dominated possession and were denied by some desperate Palace defending, with goalkeeper Vicente Guaita pulling off a series of good saves in the first half.

Everton missed their best opportunity in the 14th minute, when Richarlison’s shot was cleared off the line by the home side’s towering striker Christian Benteke.

Palace sprung to life after the break and came close twice inside a minute when Everton keeper Jordan Pickford kept out a Jordan Ayew sitter and then produced a fine reflex save with his foot to deny Max Meyer.

Palace lacked bite up front after manager Roy Hodgson left want-away forward Wilfried Zaha, who was denied a move to Everton during the summer transfer window, on the bench.

Zaha made little impact after coming on as a second-half substitute and Richarlison came close for the visitors again before they had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off in the 76th minute for a reckless tackle on Luka Milivojevic.

BURNLEY 3 SOUTHAMPTON 0

Aug 10 (Reuters) – Ashley Barnes struck twice as Burnley beat Southampton 3-0 in a meeting of two of last season’s Premier League strugglers at a wet and windswept Turf Moor on Saturday.

New Southampton striker Che Adams went close early, sliding in at the back post to meet a dangerous cross from Yan Valery but the 15 million pound ($18.05 million) signing from Birmingham City couldn’t find the target.

Burnley, who left their own close season signing Jay Rodriguez on the bench against his former club, had the ball in the net through Chris Wood in the 16th minute but provider Barnes was flagged offside and a Video Assistant Referee review backed the decision.

It was a scrappy affair in wild winds and driving rain but the breakthrough came in the 63rd minute when Saints defender Jannik Vestergaard misjudged a hopeful long ball forward from Erik Pieters and Barnes latched on to it and fired home.

The pair combined again for the Clarets’ second, seven minutes later with Dutch debutant Pieter’s cross from deep met superbly on the volley by Barnes.

Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson made it 3-0 in the 75th, winning a challenge with Ryan Bertrand and bursting goal ward before beating goalkeeper Angus Gunn with a precise finish.

BOURNEMOUTH 1 SHFFIELD UNITED 1

Talismanic Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp came off the bench to give his side a share of the spoils in their first Premier League games since 2007 as they earned a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

With the visitors showing no sign of nerves despite their lack of Premier League experience, the game was played at a blistering pace, with David McGoldrick fluffing a chance to put Sheffield United ahead in the opening minute.

After finishing 14th last season, Bournemouth made their Premier League experience tell with a well-worked free kick in the second half, defender Chris Mepham firing home as the Blades defence failed to clear.

With eight minutes left to play coach Chris Wilder summoned Sharp from the bench and the striker, who was United’s top scorer in the Championship last season with 23 goals, stabbed home the equaliser in the 88th minute.

Ryan Fraser had a chance to win it in stoppage time for the home side, but he missed the target with his free kick.

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