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Brighton 1-1 Aston Villa

Team news: Reina to make debut against Brighton Dean's debrief: Second half fightback, Grealish magic and Reina debut
Brighton 1-1 Aston Villa

Jack Grealish drilled home his ninth goal of the season for Aston Villa to secure a 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

The Villa captain smashed a left-footed leveller in the 75th minute in front of the travelling Villa faithful to seal a share of the spoils against the Seagulls on the south coast.

Leandro Trossard had put the hosts in front in the 38th minute when he fired past debutant goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who made a superb late save to deny Neal Maupay.

It ensured Villa remain unbeaten against the Seagulls since 1980 and travel back to the Midlands with a deserved point ahead of Tuesday's home clash against Watford.

Head Coach Dean Smith made five changes from the defeat to Manchester City, handing a bow to new signing Reina while Matt Targett, Frederic Guilbert, Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet returned.

Both sides battled to get a foothold during an evenly-balanced opening quarter, with neither goalkeeper seriously threatened.

Aaron Connolly poked wide from close range, before Villa skipper Grealish pulled an effort wide having raced clear from the halfway line in the 37th minute.

Yet it was the hosts who opened the scoring a minute later, Trossard firing across Reina having been played through by Maupay.

Anwar El Ghazi headed wide in injury time from Targett’s free-kick as the hosts held a slender advantage at the interval.

Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan parried Trezeguet's dangerous cross early in the second half before Danny Drinkwater fired over when well placed.

Boss Smith turned to Indiana Vassilev, making his Premier League debut, and Douglas Luiz midway through the second half.

And it was the latter who provided the crucial assist for Villa's equaliser, sending over a right-wing cross which found Grealish, who took a touch before drilling home past Ryan.

The visitors pushed for a late winner but they were indebted to Reina for making a super one-handed stop to deny Maupay and make sure the clash finished all square.

Villa: Reina, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Guilbert, Trezeguet (Vassilev 66), Drinkwater (Luiz 67), Nakamba (Hourihane 86), Targett, El Ghazi, Grealish.

Subs: Nyland, Taylor, Chester, Lansbury.

Goals: Trossard (38), Grealish (75)

Who’s next?

Villa host Watford next up in the Premier League on Tuesday night.

Secure your seat for the big clash at Villa Park, click here.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 18th January 2020