Brighton took a huge step towards Premier League survival with a 1-0 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Leandro Trossard produced a goal worthy of winning any game as he swept him Aaron Mooy's pinpoint delivery following an incisive Brighton counter attack to give the visitors the lead inside 25 minutes.
The Canaries struggled to create anything clear cut, with Jamal Lewis' teasing delivery that failed to be turned home summing up their day.
Norwich almost rescued a point at the death, but Adam Idah's glancing header clipped the inside of the post and Brighton hung on to secure a vital victory.
Key Talking Point
Norwich are the Premier League's lowest scorers, but Daniel Farke opted to leave Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki on the bench - despite the pair being responsible for 68% of the Canaries' goals this season.
The hosts started brightly but with the absence of Pukki and Cantwell their lack of cutting edge was intensified. There was no killer pass, no one willing to gamble in the box, no ruthlessness. For all their possession, Norwich failed to create anything really clear cut. Onel Hernandez offering some attacking threat with a couple of surging runs, but in front of goal he drilled over, blazed wide and saw an effort blocked.
Out of possession, the Canaries looked vulnerable to the Brighton counter attack, and this proved costly for the Seagull's opener.
Norwich Player Ratings
Starting XI: Krul (6), Aarons (6), Godfrey (5), Klose (5), Lewis (5), McClean (5), Tettey (6), Buendia (7*), Duda (5), Hernandez (6), Drmic (4).
Subs: Pukki (5), Idah (5), Cantwell (5), Vrancic (5).
If anyone was going to unlock the Brighton defence, it was Buendia. While going forward Norwich were cagey and stunted, the Argentinian was brave and lively. Buendia buzzed in and around the Brighton box, determinedly getting on the ball time after time and trying the inventive, creative stuff that no one else in a Norwich shirt seemed willing to attempt.
His footwork and pass to tee up Hernandez in the first half were simply exquisite.
Key Talking Point
While Norwich were ponderous in the final third, Brighton were intense, slick and decisive. They expertly executed their counter attacking game plan, exploiting the lack of protection the hosts gave their back line.
The Seagulls were happy to sit back and wait for a lapse in Norwich concentration, swiftly pouncing on any loose pass and mounting an attack. Going forward they were quick and dangerous, with Trossard, Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly's movement and Mooy's passing range an effective combination.
Norwich really came at Brighton in the final 15 minutes, but the Seagulls were dogged, organised and resilient, and hung on for a deserved three points.
Brighton Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ryan (6), Lamptey (8*), Webster (7), Dunk (7), Burn (6), Propper (6), Bissouma (7), Trossard (7), Mooy (8), Maupay (6), Connolly (6).
Subs: Gross (5), Bernardo (5), Stephens (5), Mac Allister (5), Duffy( N/A).
Brighton got a lot of joy down the right flank, with Lamptey and Mooy combining effectively on multiple occasions to cause Norwich all sorts of problems.
Lamptey was tidy in possession and defensively dependable. He played with the energy and fearlessness to reflect his tender 19 years, but brought a maturity and commanding defensive performance to match. He was integral in winning the ball back and triggering Brighton counter attacks, and got forward with menace and intent.
Brighton host Liverpool on Wednesday - who may or may not have recovered from their title winning hangovers by then - while Norwich welcome fellow strugglers Watford on Tuesday.