Evan Ferguson hit his first career hat-trick as Brighton capped a memorable week by inflicting a third successive Premier League defeat on Newcastle with a thumping 3-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.
Teenage striker Ferguson curled home a superb second from range to add to a simple first-half finish before completing his treble with the aid of a hefty deflection off Fabian Schar.
The 18-year-old’s heroics came a day after Albion were drawn to face Ajax, Marseille, and AEK Athens in their maiden Europa League campaign.
Success for the Seagulls, who also pulled off a transfer coup on Friday by signing Ansu Fati on loan from Barcelona, was a third from four this season following last weekend’s loss to West Ham.
Newcastle were only beaten five times in the top flight during the whole of last term but were unable to halt their recent slide on the back of setbacks against Manchester City and Liverpool, despite Callum Wilson’s late consolation.
Striker Alexander Isak wasted two early opportunities before the Magpies were blown away to temper the excitement following their mouthwatering Champions League draw.
Eddie Howe’s men were on Thursday pitted against AC Milan, Paris St-Germain, and Borussia Dortmund in European football’s premier competition, while Brighton’s maiden continental campaign will also include heavyweight opposition.
Newcastle began brighter from an attacking perspective, and Isak twice threatened during a shaky start from the Seagulls.
The Sweden striker was denied inside 55 seconds by Jan Paul van Hecke’s last-ditch tackle following Bruno Guimaraes’ fine through ball before shinning wastefully wide after Pervis Estupinan’s poor clearance led to Sandro Tonali cutting the ball back from the right.
Brighton, who paraded 20-year-old Spain forward Fati and fellow new signing Carlos Baleba ahead of kickoff, were dominating possession.
Yet Roberto De Zerbi’s hosts again escaped in the 16th minute when Miguel Almiron’s low cross from the right deflected off Lewis Dunk and was turned behind by goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.
Newcastle were then punished for mistakes of their own 11 minutes later. Livescore