Former Palace forward Glenn Murray had given the Seagulls the lead with his 100th league goal, pouncing on a mistake by James Tomkins before superbly volleying into the far corner from 18 yards.
Anthony Knockaert’s stunning strike proved decisive as Brighton moved eight points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with victory at Crystal Palace.
The hosts equalised shortly after the break when Luka Milivojevic scored his eighth penalty of the season after Davy Propper had fouled Andros Townsend.
But Knockaert – who was booked after 28 seconds for the visitors, the fastest in the top flight for a decade – became the match-winner when he cut in from the right on to his favoured left foot and curled a brilliant shot into the top-left corner from 25 yards.
The result lifts Brighton to 14th in the table, while Palace – who are also on 33 points – stay in 13th.
Clinical Murray reaches landmark
It felt like the script was written for Brighton’s Murray when Romania forward Florin Andone injured his thigh in the warm-up.
He was the only Brighton player to be applauded by the home supporters before kick-off – recognition of his 47 goals in five years as a Palace player.
The 35-year-old, who had scored for both teams in previous contests between them, had been stuck on 99 league goals since a double at Fulham at the end of January.
And he made an inauspicious start to Saturday’s game, touching the ball just three times in the opening 18 minutes as the hosts dominated possession.
However, his fourth touch was clinical.
Chasing Lewis Dunk’s long ball, he benefited from Tomkins’ poor attempt to head clear before dispatching a brilliant effort from the left side of the Palace penalty area that gave keeper Vicente Guaita no chance.
The strike means Murray has become only the second Brighton player – after Tommy Cook – to reach 100 goals for the club.
Palace fail to recover again
Crystal Palace dominated almost every statistic – with more territory, possession, shots and crosses than their opponents.
However, Roy Hodgson’s side once again struggled in the area that ultimately counts – scoring goals – against a solid Brighton side.
Palace have managed just 11 goals in 15 league games at Selhurst Park this season, the second-worst scoring record at home in the Premier League after bottom club Huddersfield.
And while they levelled thanks to Milivojevic’s 17th penalty in two years, that was one of only three efforts on target, and Brighton keeper Mat Ryan dealt comfortably with an early Michy Batshuayi shot and a Tomkins header.
Palace have a dismal record in games in which they have fallen behind this term, collecting just four points from a possible 42 – with their only victory coming at champions Manchester City in December.
Man of the match – Dale Stephens (Brighton)
‘We have missed an opportunity’ – what they said
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s a hard defeat to take but we came across a team that got players behind the ball. “We gave it our best effort. We pushed players forward at all times. Brighton worked very hard for their victory.
“I’d like to think we have got enough in terms of quality in the team but we have missed an opportunity. This was an opportunity to really move ourselves away from any fear of relegation. We didn’t take it.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s a manly performance and, particularly after conceding that goal in the second half, the place was rocking and they had all of the momentum.
“It could have gone the other way but it didn’t and we stuck at it and scored two great goals. We want to see that more often from him [Anthony Knockaert].
“He is one of a few players who can help us by contributing more goals. That tackle [where Knockaert was given a yellow card] was absolutely not a red card.”
On Glenn Murray: “If Florin Andone plays then you don’t know how he would have done, but Murray is someone used to this level of game and to see him back scoring is great. He’s been unlucky and missed chances, but you hope that if he continues to get them then he will put them away.”
Palace penalty kings – the stats
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their past seven home Premier League games (D2 L4) and have earned the lowest proportion of their points at home in the competition this season (39% – 13/33).
- Brighton have done the league double over Palace for the first time since 1983-84 when the teams were in the second tier.
- Since the start of last season, the Eagles have been awarded 19 penalties in the Premier League, six more than any other side.
- Since their promotion to the top flight for the 2017-18 season, Brighton have conceded 12 penalties in the competition – a joint high with Arsenal.
- Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert’s yellow card after 28 seconds was the quickest in the Premier League since Stephen Warnock was booked on 26 seconds for Blackburn against Hull in March 2009.
- Knockaert’s goal for Brighton was their first from outside the box in the Premier League since February 2018, when Pascal Gross netted against West Ham.
- Striker Glenn Murray has scored in his past four appearances for Brighton against Crystal Palace.
- Murray has scored 35% of the Seagulls’ Premier League goals (23 of 66), the highest proportion of any team’s goals by a player in the history of the competition.
- Since his debut in February 2017, Luka Milivojevic has scored 21 Premier League goals for Crystal Palace, more than any other player.
Crystal Palace visit Premier League rivals Watford in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday, 16 March (12:15 GMT kick-off). Brighton travel to Championship side Millwall for their last-eight tie the following day (14:00).
Source: BBC News