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Sean Taylor

Aston Villa chief executive Dean Smith was unable to explain the controversial decision to overturn a penalty and deny his team a chance to earn a late point.

By Smith’s own admission, Villa was not at her best and visitors ended up holding on comfortably. However, Brighton had to work up a sweat in stoppage time when Tariq Lamptey was sent off for two bookable challenges in quick succession against John McGinn and then against Jack Grealish.

Lamptey hadn’t even taken his seat on the bench before Villa received a penalty, though replay suggested that Solly March might have played enough off the ball in a challenge with Trezeguet.

Referee Michael Oliver thought so too, after glancing at the pitchside monitor and reversing his original decision, much to Smith’s annoyance.

“I can’t explain,” said Smith. “I don’t know what a penalty is now. We could all hear the contact in the ground. If VAR thinks it is not a penalty, simply tell the referee that it is not a penalty. It wasn’t given, so we have to wear it on our chins.

“I thought VAR was clear and obvious. That was not clear and clear to me. Everyone heard the succession in the stadium. My players said it was a penalty. “

Before the dramatic final, Danny Welbeck’s first goal for Brighton set Albion on the path to a first win in seven Premier League games. The former Manchester United and Arsenal striker gave the visitors the lead at half time before Villa equalized through Ezri Konsa early in the second half.

March quickly restored Brighton’s advantage with a nice curling effort, and in the end Villa ran out of ideas on how to get back into the game.

“I don’t think we were bad,” said Smith. “We missed opportunities and made big mistakes in their goals. We have to defend much better. Brighton was a threat on the counter, but I wasn’t overly concerned. I thought we were in control of the game and if we had taken our chances we would have won. I didn’t think we deserved to be beaten. “

Villa is sweating on Ross Barkley’s fitness. The midfielder has suffered a hamstring injury that forced him off the pitch after just five minutes. “He felt his Achilles tendon and we’re going to have it scanned. He seems pretty hopeful that it won’t be too long, “said Smith.

Brighton boss Graham Potter was relieved that the VAR decision was in his favor, claiming Trezeguet “exaggerated” the potential foul.

“At the last minute or whatever it was in the game, your heart is in your mouth and it would have been tough on the players if they had tried,” said Potter.

“It looked a bit over the top to be honest. I thought Solly (March) touched the ball, but it’s fine edges again like I said earlier. The margins are so small and you always have to survive something. It’s nice to see someone walking our way, that’s for sure. “

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