Connolly celebrates scoring on his first Premier League start. Kirsty Wigglesworth
back of the net

19-year-old Galway striker Aaron Connolly scores twice on first Premier League start

The Ireland U21 striker was named man-of-the-match at the AMEX on Saturday.

AARON CONNOLLY SCORED twice on his first Premier League start for Brighton, the 19-year-old finding the back of the net either side of half-time at the AMEX Stadium against Tottenham during a 3-0 win.

The Ireland U21 striker has featured regularly for the Seagulls so far this season, starting and scoring in his side’s League Cup victory over Bristol Rovers, while also coming off the bench against Man City, Burnley, Newcastle and Chelsea.

The Galway native came within inches of scoring against Newcastle a fortnight ago, but broke his duck against Spurs to put Brighton 2-0 ahead against last season’s Champions League finalists.

Neal Maupay opened the scoring after just three minutes, capitalising on a Hugo Lloris mistakes which saw the French goalkeeper brought off with a horrific arm injury.

On the half-hour mark Daniel Burn delivered a cross towards the front post inside the penalty area and Connolly, making his first Premier League start, did brilliantly to get out in front of Ben Davies.

Paulo Gazzaniga made an initial save, but the teenager pounced again to double the host’s advantage.

Man-of-the-match Connolly tormented Spurs’ backline all afternoon and scored his second after 65 minutes. Making a darting run into enemy territory, he latched onto Lewis Dunk’s long pass over the top.

Tasked with beating Toby Alderweireld, Connolly cut inside past his marker before curling a pinpoint effort into the bottom corner beyond the fingertips of Gazzaniga to make it 3-0.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane then missed huge chances to pull a goal back that summed up Spurs’ dire week and leaves Pochettino with plenty to ponder over the upcoming two-week international break.

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