Brighton took a giant step towards Premier League safety with a dominant 2-0 victory over a surprisingly underwhelming Leeds.
Brighton produced the first effort in anger after the dancing feet of Leandro Trossard teased the Leeds backline. The Belgian crafted a yard of space within the box, but couldn’t find the power or accuracy required to trouble Illan Meslier.
The Seagulls still had a point to prove with Premier League safety still not secured, and were handed a timely boost when Ezgjan Alioski felled Danny Welbeck at the expense of e penalty.
The versatile full-back trapped Welbeck’s leg between his body and arm as the forward attempted to turn. Pascal Gross stepped up to the spot and squeezed his effort between the post and outstretched arm of Meslier to open the scoring.
Leeds lacked their usual energy and attacking verve in the early going, exemplified by a wildly ambitious lobbed attempt by Diego Llorente from the half-way line.
That misguided effort finally sparked the visitors into life who began to ask questions of Brighton all across the pitch.
Leeds won a series of corners from which nothing came, though latching on to the second balls did offer hope.
Tyler Roberts did just that with 10 minutes remaining in the half before firing a sweet strike goal-bound. Dan Burn blocked the effort with his arms, though the rangy defender had not made himself bigger in the process of blocking the shot.
Brighton almost landed a sucker punch as half-time neared after Leeds squandered possession playing out from the back.
Welbeck dispossessed Llorente before teeing up Trossard. With the goal seemingly at his mercy, Trossard blazed over.
Welbeck was again in the heat of battle moments later when screwing an excellent opportunity wide after an incisive pass from Trossard carved Leeds open.
Marcelo Bielsa wasted little time shuffling his pack, introducing Ian Poveda to the action at half-time in place of Alioski.
The first chance after the interval fell at the other end, however, with Joel Veltman firing over as Brighton’s lack of cutting edge in the final third reared it’s ugly head once more.
A straight ball over the top by Lewis Dunk then caught Leeds napping. But for the vital fingertips intervention of Meslier, Welbeck would have doubled the hosts’ lead.
Sensing the opportunity to put their relegation fears to bed, Brighton were piling on the pressure.
Chances came and went for Ben White and Neal Maupay, but still, the second goal would not come.
With 10 minutes remaining the inevitable finally happened when Welbeck doubled Brighton’s advantage in some style.
The forward turned Pascal Struijk inside out before rifling a low drive inside the far post to make it 2-0.
A Leeds fightback never appeared likely with time quickly running out. With a two-goal advantage, Brighton took their foot off the accelerator and comfortably saw out the closing minutes to secure a vital three points that all but guarantees their topflight survival.