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An Impressive Week for Kaoru Mitoma

Kaoru Mitoma was the standout performer for Brighton & Hove Albion as they overcame Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 in last Saturday’s Premier League action. Having gone down 2-1 to a struggling Wolves side at the Molineux, former Kawasaki Frontale winger Mitoma – who had helped out in creating Adam Lallana’s opener earlier in the game – scored Brighton’s equalizer, played an instrumental role in Nelson Semedo’s dismissal before half-time, before setting up Pascal Gross’ 83rd minute winner that clinched all three points for Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton.

Having been included in De Zerbi’s starting lineup in Brighton’s 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea at the Amex Stadium two weeks ago, Mitoma was once again entrusted by his Italian manager to take part in the latter’s starting lineup for Brighton’s trip to a struggling Wolves side who had just appointed former Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui as their boss for the remainder of the season, although caretaker Steve Davis remains in charge for last Saturday’s match.

Mitoma played a contribution in Brighton’s 10th minute opener. The pacey winger passed the ball short towards Leandro Trossard, who then lays it onto the path of former Southampton and Liverpool striker Lallana. The 34-year old then curled the ball home past Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa – Lallana’s fifth goal of the season.

Lallana’s goal stung Wolves to life and they bit back through goals from Goncalo Guedes two minutes after Brighton’s opener and a 35th minute penalty from Ruben Neves following a Lewis Dunk handball within the area.

Brighton did not falter despite going behind and one minute before the interval, the Seagulls managed to equalize. Lallana managed to weave his way through the Wolves defense before crossing the ball towards Mitoma, who thumped in a header past Sa for his first-ever Premier League goal.

Mitoma then almost created a valuable chance for Brighton deep into stoppage time, latching onto a Dunk long-ball and creating enough of a threat that prompted Semedo to commit a last-man foul on the winger as he was heading towards a one-on-one battle with Sa – leaving the referee no choice but to give the former Barcelona player a straight red card.

Seven minutes before full-time, Mitoma showed off his magic once again, dribbling his way into the byline before cutting back towards Gross, who slammed home Brighton’s winner into Sa’s goal.

The performance was part of an excellent week for Mitoma, who had been included in Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 25-year old then built upon his Molineux heroics with a superb performance away at the Emirates on Thursday, scoring a goal as Brighton stunned Premier League leaders Arsenal 3-1 in the EFL Cup third round. Mitoma will be looking for more of the same as Brighton are scheduled to take on Aston Villa on Monday night’s Premier League action, the Seagulls’ last match before the upcoming World Cup.