Alireza Jahanbakhsh's stunning overhead kick earns Brighton a draw against Chelsea
Alireza Jahanbakhsh's stunning overhead kick helped Brighton and Hove Albion to a well deserved a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League at the Amex Stadium
The Iran striker's acrobatic finish punished Frank Lampard's Chelsea who were fortunate to avoid defeat, with Kepa Arrizabalaga denying Aaron Connolly and Neal Maupay late on.
Albion's record signing Jahanbakhsh had broken a 20-match league duck with his strike in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on December 28. And the 26-year-old started 2020 in some style, with a bicycle kick finish worthy of anyone's highlights reel.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta tapped home just nine minutes in as Chelsea started well. But by the final whistle it was the Blues who were clinging on, to leave Brighton buoyed by the point.
Azpilicueta did the honours with the first Premier League goal of 2020, tapping in from a corner following a goalmouth scramble.
The 30-year-old toasted his 100th start as Blues captain in style and Chelsea seized on their early opener to squeeze themselves into total control.
So tight was Chelsea's early grip that Brighton were reduced to just a deflected effort from Steven Alzate and a whipped shot from Leandro Trossard, that Kepa palmed away theatrically.
Yves Bissouma was taken off at the break with Aaron Connolly on to stiffen the home midfield, but after the interval Chelsea still picked up where they had left off.
Pulisic had tormented Martin Montoya throughout the first-half and extended the Brighton man's torrid time by outfoxing him twice in quick succession after the break.
Chelsea's USA forward failed to find the target on both occasions however.
The visitors survived Jorginho being mugged by Maupay in his own half in a rare error from the Italy midfielder.
Pulisic drew a save from Mathew Ryan after a scything ball from Willian, but that proved his last act of the day as Callum Hudson-Odoi climbed off the bench to add final quarter impetus.
Mateo Kovacic then replaced Mason Mount in a defensive move from Lampard aimed at shutting the contest down.
Brighton finally sensed Chelsea's disquiet and Connolly almost fired an equaliser, only for Kepa to produce a fine point-blank save.
Kovacic had conceded the free-kick for Connolly's chance, and then made another cheap and risky foul within shooting range.
Trossard wasted the opportunity to hand both Kovacic and Chelsea a serious let-off.
The Blues ignored all the warning signs though, and paid the price when Jahanbakhsh pulled off a fine bicycle kick to volley Brighton level. Lewis Dunk won a ball played in the box and Jahanbakhsh's execution of the overhead was just perfect.
A floundering Chelsea almost threw the game away entirely at the death, as Maupay was thwarted by another good Kepa save.
But the visitors held on amid the onslaught, for a point and Brighton were perhaps unlucky in the end not to claim all three from what was a very entertaining encounter.
ALBION: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Webster, Burn (Bernardo 21), Trossard, Alzate, Propper, Bissouma (Connolly 45), Mooy (Jahanbakhsh 68), Maupay.
SUBS NOT USED: Button, Duffy, Stephens, Gross.