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Title-chasing Brighton rocked by freakish own goals

Britain Football Soccer - Norwich City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship - Carrow Road - 21/4/17 Players during a minutes applause in memory of former footballer Ugo Ehiogu before the match Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge
Britain Football Soccer - Norwich City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship - Carrow Road - 21/4/17 Players during a minutes applause in memory of former footballer Ugo Ehiogu before the match Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Brighton and Hove Albion's hopes of winning the Championship title suffered a bizarre setback on Friday when they lost 2-0 at Norwich City with two own goals off goalkeeper David Stockdale's back.

Each goal came from shots by Alex Pritchard which fizzed back off the woodwork and on to the keeper. The result denied Brighton, who are already guaranteed promotion to the Premier League, the win they needed to clinch first place ahead of Newcastle United.

Ironically, Pritchard almost joined Brighton from Tottenham Hotspur last year before deciding to sign for Norwich on the eve of the season.

Brighton supporters responded by booing the midfielder from the start at Carrow Road but he silenced them with unstoppable shots on 18 and 39 minutes, the first rebounding off Stockdale after striking the crossbar and the second finding the net in almost identical fashion after coming back off the upright.

Stockdale had no chance with either strike and was left shaking his head in disbelief.

Brighton remained seven points ahead of Newcastle and next play Bristol City at home on April 29. They will have won the title by then if Rafa Benitez's Newcastle side lose either of their next two games.

(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond)

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