Brighton dents Newcastle’s European hopes by securing EPL draw

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Sean Longstaff’s eighth goal of the season ensured Newcastle’s home campaign in the English Premier League did not end with a defeat as Brighton emerged from the long trip north with a point from a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Longstaff canceled out Joel Veltman’s opener with a close-range finish in first-half stoppage time but the result dented the Magpies’ hopes of reeling in fifth-placed Tottenham in what remains of the season.

It was no more than the visitors deserved on a day when Eddie Howe’s players struggled for the fluency that helped them win five of their previous seven league games.

Newcastle stayed in sixth place and dropped six points behind Tottenham in fifth.

The home side started in determined fashion in front of a crowd of 51,997 at St. James’ Park, although Emil Krafth had to make an important intervention after Julio Enciso tricked his way past Tino Livramento with a neat turn and crossed from the left.

Enciso was proving a real handful as the visitors worked their way into the game, and with Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour finding their feet in the middle of the field, Roberto De Zerbi’s men enjoyed a healthy share of possession and forced a series of corners.

It was from one of them that they took an 18th-minute lead when Gross’ delivery was helped on by Danny Welbeck and Veltman stabbed home from close range at the far post.

Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen had to pull off a fine save on the stroke of halftime to deny Alexander Isak after Bruno Guimaraes picked out the striker’s run in behind, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Longstaff from equalizing in the fifth minute of added time when he stabbed home Elliot Anderson’s cross from six meters.

Verbruggen had to claw the ball from underneath his crossbar after substitute Tariq Lamptey’s attempted clearance from Isak’s 58th-minute cross looped towards the top corner of his own goal, but Martin Dubravka had to be equally alert at the other end to keep out Enciso’s deflected effort.

Eddie Howe sent on Joelinton, Harvey Barnes and Miguel Almiron for Longstaff, Murphy and a disappointed Isak with 22 minutes remaining. Anthony Gordon thought he won it for Newcastle five minutes from time, only for his effort to be ruled offside.


AP soccer:

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