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Roma 4 Brighton 0: Wasteful Seagulls' Europa League hopes all but over

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ROMELU LUKAKU helped Roma’s demolition of Brighton as he continues to taunt Chelsea.

The on-loan Blues striker hit his seventh in eight Europa League games while Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain in dire need of goals.

Brighton were thrashed by Roma in the Last 16 of the Europa League

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Brighton were thrashed by Roma in the Last 16 of the Europa LeagueCredit: Getty

Paulo Dybala, Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante were also on target, leaving Roberto De Zerbi’s men with a mountain to climb at the Amex next week.

The Seagulls, who have been decimated by injuries, have had their season implode in the space of ten days as they crashed out to Wolves in the FA Cup before losing 3-0 to Fulham in the Prem.

The club’s biggest night in their history was also marred by the stabbings of two of their fans on Wednesday night by a masked gang of thugs.

One of the victims, Jack, heroically made it into the stands despite having ten stitches and walking on crutches.

Roma started brightly with Leonardo Spinazzola fizzing a menacing cross at Chelsea loanee Lukaku who stung the hands of Jason Steele with a header.

Brighton hit back with Simon Adingra twisting and turning into the net before firing a shot, which bobbled off Evan N’Dicka and onto the post.

Both sides favour fluid movement, tactical flexibility and high energy with a fire in their bellies to fight for something bigger than themselves.

But Brighton looked a nervous wreck and Roma made them pay.

Dybala ripped through Brighton’s defence, while Lewis Dunk was caught napping, rounded Steele and slotted into an empty net on 12 minutes. 

The flag went up but after a short VAR check and the Olimpico went berserk as the goal was given.

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Brighton had another go, this time with Adringra shimmying up the left flank and teeing up Danny Welbeck whose downward header steered just shy of goal.

Tempers flared when Jan Paul van Hecke was booked for lunging in on Lorenzo Pellegrini.

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Dunk failed to deal with a long ball, mis-controlling it and gifting Lukaku the chance to pounce.

The Chelsea loanee zipped forward, outmuscling Dunk before lashing a fierce, low drive beyond Steele on 43 minutes.

Brighton weren’t going into the break with their tail between their legs, and Welbeck steered a bullet header at Mile Svilar who tipped it over.

De Zerbi substituted on-loan Barcelona striker Ansu Fati for Julio Enciso at the break but things only got worse.

Steele palmed away yet another Lukaku header which so very easily could have made it 3-0.

Gianluca Mancini tucked in though with an outstretched leg to poke home a cross on 65 minutes as Brighton started to crumble.

Mancini celebrated by charging in front of the boisterous Roma fans and bowing.

There was a brief VAR check for offside but the goal was given with Mancini on by a whisker.

The mountain to climb became Everest when Stephan El Shaarawy flicked the ball across to Cristante who was well clear of Igor Julio to nod past Steele on 69 minutes.

Dunk nearly redeemed himself by firing a dipping and curling shot over the bar after a desperate scramble in the box but it wasn’t meant to be.

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