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Ajax 0-2 Brighton & Hove Albion: Seagulls boost hopes of reaching Europa League knockout stages

Ansu Fati scores
On-loan Barcelona forward Ansu Fati scored and created a goal for Brighton

Brighton boosted their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League with a comfortable win over a youthful Ajax side in Amsterdam.

Ansu Fati opened the scoring for the visitors with a low effort into the bottom-left corner after collecting Simon Adingra's pass.

Ansu then turned provider, as Ivory Coast winger Adringa doubled Brighton's lead with a rising close-range effort.

Brian Brobbey's volley, which hit both posts, was the closest Ajax came to scoring.

Roberto de Zerbi's side move on to seven points and could clinch their place in the next phase of the tournament if they win at AEK Athens in their penultimate Group B fixture.

"I'm really delighted for the result, for the performance, for our fans," said De Zerbi.

"I'm satisfied, but I expect always more and more. For Ansu, he played very well in the first half but after the second goal I think he could play better. He could score the third goal."

Ajax, whose starting line-up had an average age of 21.6 years, are bottom of the group with just two points from four matches.

Professional Brighton record famous win

Before this games the Seagulls had only won once in eight matches - in the reverse fixture against the Dutch club.

But they made light of their stuttering form and a shuffling of personnel enforced by first-half injuries to James Milner and captain Lewis Dunk, to record a famous success against the four-time European Cup/Champions League winners.

Pervis Estupinan, who was returning from a muscular problem, could also only manage just over 10 minutes after his reintroduction as a substitute before being withdrawn, and with Tariq Lamptey also out it has left De Zerbi short of options.

"I'm very worried but it's a problem we are fighting in this moment," the Italian added.

"We have a lot of injuries, especially in the full-back position."

Further forward he has fewer issues. Kaoru Mitoma, who was perhaps fortunate to escape without a booking for a challenge on home right-back Anton Gaaei, provided an excellent outlet down the left.

And at key moments Brighton were able to fluently break through the lines with some neat one-touch passing to carve out good opportunities for the likes of Mitoma and Joao Pedro to extend their advantage.

The arrival of former winger John van 't Schip as interim boss has lifted the gloom at Ajax following their dismal start to the campaign under Maurice Steijn, which saw them drop to the foot of the Eredivisie, but Brighton proved a step up in class after back-to-back wins over Volendam and Heerenveen.

A bright start was undermined by a mistake from teenage midfielder Silvano Vos, directly contributing to Ansu's goal, and they then struggled to fashion a clear-cut opening until Brobbey struck both posts.

While they showed plenty of endeavour - Chuba Akpom also went close - Ajax lacked the ruthlessness of their opponents in key moments.