Albion 2 Ajax 0

Albion have their first ever European win.

And the great thing was, for a such a special occasion, it also felt a bit routine by the end.

Goals in a short period either side of half-time from Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati did the trick.

The boys from Brazil and Barcelona got Albion well and truly up and running in Europa League Group B.

But it did not all end up in the emotional high from which it will take some effort to come down.

Albion were comfortable winners.

They had to be patient for some while.

There were very early shouts for a penalty waved away as Joao Pedro went down with a defender at his back.

The Brazilian had the first shot of the night, hooking an effort well wide after some dazzling wing play and a heads-up cutback from Kaoru Mitoma.

It was the busy start Albion would have wanted, albeit lacking in precision at times.

Ajax were largely happy to sit back and challenge the hosts to pass a through them.

A poor touch by Carlos Borges in his own box gave James Milner a sight of goal, but his low shot was held by keeper Diant Ramaj approaching the midway point in the half.

Ajax’s first decent move led to Jason Steele catching a cross.

And his clever release, superbly taken down by Kaoru Mitoma in full flight, led to concerted appeals for a penalty as Joao Pedro went down under challenge:

Referee Frankowski appeared to be indicating he saw it as shoulder to shoulder although it did not appear that part of the anatomy was involved for either player.

Albion were building some momentum. Lewis Dunk saw his free-kick deflect behind and met the resulting corner with a header back across goal which led to Simon Adingra volleying over.

Mitoma dropped into a playmaking area, right of centre, and guided a lovely little ball to get Joao Pedro in.

His angled shot was parried low down by Ramaj.

The Japan international, despite a yellow card for a foul, had been involved in all the best moments and that continued all the way to the goal which gave Albion their first European lead.

Ajax had dropped deeper and deeper, Albion had passed and passed – and then they broke through as Dunk threaded a ball, Mitoma saw his shot parried and Joao Pedro pounced.

One could feel the relief as Albion reached the interval with an advantage.

Ajax sent on Kristian Hlynnson, their Finnish teenager who scored twice at the weekend, at the break and came out to play a bit more in the second half.

It opened up the pitch and Albion profited with their killer second goal.

Billy Gilmour led the attack, there was some lovely footwork by Adingra and Ansu teased the ball across the keeper.

Dare one say it was total football?

A two-goal lead and Sussex By The Sea rang out.

Ansu quickly drilled inches wide from Mitoma pass, then Steven Berghuis hit the near post for Ajax as he cut inside.

Berghuis was a threat – but was returning from injury and left the action soon after his near miss.

It felt like there might be a bit more of a test at the back now for the Seagulls, but with more potential to cut loose at the other end.

Instead, they put their foot on the ball, both literally and figuratively, kept possession and saw it through.

Facundo Buonanotte had a shot blocked by the keeper, Pascal Gross buzzed around lending the ball to team-mates and Albion toyed with Ajax.

It was all unexpectedly sedate in the closing stages as they protected possession and the nil.

A first clean sheet of the season will be welcome.

The first win in Europe is what it was all about.

Albion: Steele; Veltman, Van Hecke (Webster 85), Dunk, Milner (Dahoud 85); Gross, Gilmour (Baleba 64), Adingra, Ansu (Buonanotte 64), Mitoma; Joao Pedro (Ferguson 75). Subs not used: Verbruggen, Igor, Lallana, McGill, Hinshelwood, Duffus.

Goals: Joao Pedro 42, Ansu Fati 53.

Yellow card: Mitoma 22 (foul), Van Hecke 34 (foul).

Ajax: Ramaj, Gaaei, Sutalo, Hato, Sosa; Tahirovic (van den Boomen 60), Berghuis (Godts 60), Taylor; Borges (Hlynnson 46), Brobbey (Akpom 75), Bergwijn (Vos 75). Subs: Pasveer, Saleh-Eddine, Medic, Avila, Gooijer, Setford.