July 20, 2020 / 7:17 PM / 15 days ago

Brighton ensure top flight survival with Newcastle draw

BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) - Brighton and Hove Albion made sure of avoiding relegation from the Premier League after a 0-0 home draw with Newcastle United on Monday sent them clear of the drop zone with one game remaining.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - July 20, 2020 Brighton & Hove Albion's Solly March with manager Graham Potter after the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

Brighton have 38 points from 37 games, seven more than 18th-placed Aston Villa who have a game in hand and Bournemouth in 19th, while bottom team Norwich City have already been relegated.

Newcastle are 13th on 44 points, five behind 12th-placed Southampton.

The Seagulls dominated a scrappy encounter and missed several chances in the first half, with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka pulling off a fine save to deny Leandro Trossard in the 28th minute.

Dubravka also stopped a tame Lewis Dunk header early on before Trossard volleyed over the bar and Pascal Gross dragged his shot across the face of goal.

Dubravka kept out an Adam Webster piledriver with an acrobatic save in the 78th minute while Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll Ritchie missed close-range headers at the other end.

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk was relieved after his team secured another season in the Premier League.

“We’re there now, target is done,” Dunk told Sky Sports.

“We can relax a bit and enjoy the last game of the season. I can’t really remember the start of the season, it was that long ago. We’ve come a long way.”

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce conceded a congested fixture list following a three-month break forced by the coronavirus pandemic had taken its toll on his players.

“That’s our 10th game in 35 days and we have got a lot of tired bodies as we can’t rotate like some others can,” he said.

“It’s been difficult for everyone concerned with everything that’s gone on. We’ve done OK, I would have taken 44 points. I think we were safe when we beat Southampton in March.

Brighton finish their campaign with a visit to Burnley while Newcastle host champions Liverpool on Saturday.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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