Chelsea were pegged back by a stoppage time equaliser as pressure paid off for Brighton in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea resisted plenty of Brighton pressure and looked to be on course to earn a 1-0 win thanks to a first-half headed goal from Romelu Lukaku. But Danny Welbeck dramatically equalised in added time to ensure the points were shared.
Lukaku made his first Chelsea start since October for the Blues against Brighton. He was one of four changes for Thomas Tuchel’s men from their 3-1 Boxing Day win at Aston Villa.
Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta also returned to the side.
Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante – who all started the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Sunday – dropped out.
Silva was not involved while Kai Havertz returned to the bench.
Brighton showed three changes from their 2-0 win over Brentford, with Yves Bissouma among those stepping into the XI.
And Lukaku headed Chelsea into a 1-0 lead on 27 minutes, turning in a corner in style.
The Belgium hitman shrugged off Neal Maupay’s measly challenge, with the Brighton’s striker’s protests dismissed without issue by the officials.
But soon after Reece James hobbled off with a suspected knee problem.
The England right-back had deputised at left wing-back in Ben Chilwell’s continued absence, but could now face a spell on the sidelines of his own.
Brighton’s response was good though. Solly March’s cross was cleared but only as far as Yves Bissouma, who fired low and straight at Edouard Mendy.
Adam Lallana then stung Mendy’s palms with a rising drive before firing over just seconds later.
Lamptey then knocked the ball past Alonso and Rudiger flew into a challenge on the right-back. He comes off the floor, and although he gets the ball, he was certainly endangering Lamptey.
He protested his innocence and was shown the first yellow card of the game.
Then from a corner Brighton came close to an equaliser after Mendy’s punch found Lamptey. The latter took a touch before looping a shot on to the roof of the net.
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Brighton were pushing for a leveller before half-time.
Lamptey pulled the ball back for Mac Allister on the edge of the box, but after a one-two with Maupay, he fired straight at Mendy.
And seconds later Jakub Moder did well to win it back again and set Marc Cucurella off down the left.
He curled an early cross into the box and Maupay flicked on to Mac Allister, who could not get a shot in.
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Brighton began the second half in similar style when Moder’s flick-on looped over the bar.
At the other end, Lukaku had another headed chance, but this time it wasn’t on target.
But Brighton were keeping Mendy busy. His next save was to deny Mac Allister from a free kick. Soon after, he was also called into action to push over a Bissouma strike.
Maupay was next to take aim for the visitors but his attempt from an angle went wide.
Yet more chances were not converted by Brighton when Maupay was thwarted by the Chelsea defence and, moments later, Lamptey shot wide.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic, though, with Mason Mount seeing an effort for Chelsea deflected behind. Lukaku also put an effort wide and Kovacic tried his luck without success too.
It looked like the hosts were managing to take the sting out of the game but Brighton got the reward for their efforts with a stoppage-time equaliser.
Danny Welbeck, recently on as a substitute, headed in a cross from Cucurella. It earned his side a share of the spoils and was what they deserved.