Brighton’s eagerly awaited European bow fell flat as Greek heavyweights AEK Athens stunned Roberto de Zerbi’s men with a 3-2 Europa League group stage victory.
The Seagulls twice pegged AEK back after Djibril Sidibe and Mijat Gacinovic had taken advantage of Lewis Dunk’s absence through injury to score from first-half set pieces.
But, even with 13 minutes’ injury-time, Brighton had no answer after substitute Ezequiel Ponce converted a third after 84 minutes.
Niclas Eliasson was given too much time to cross after Tariq Lamptey had slipped as AEK launched a speedy counter-attack, Ponce applying the finish.
It meant Joao Pedro’s unique double ended up counting for nothing.
Evidently, it is not unusual for the video assistant referee to intervene to award penalties. Remarkably, this time it happened twice, on both occasions after the former Watford forward had gone down – he was booked for diving the first time.
Brighton’s £30 million record signing took both penalties, twice sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.