Alireza Jahanbakhsh makes Chelsea overhead kick admission and lays out his future plans

Whatever happens in the future, Brighton's Iranian international Alireza Jahanbakhsh will find it almost impossible to top that magic moment against Chelsea on New Year's Day 2020.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh fires home a dramatic overhead kick to seal a point for Brighton against Chelsea on New Year's Day

Brighton were a goal down and pushing hard for an equaliser against Frank Lampard's team at the Amex Stadium. Leandro Trossard whipped in a deep 84th minute corner and Lewis Dunk rose to nod the ball back just behind the penalty spot.

Jahanbakhsh, on as a 68th minute substitute, positioned his body and instinctively unleashed an overhead that nestled perfectly in the bottom corner. It was his second goal in two matches, having previously not scored since his £17m arrival from AZ Alkmaar in July 2018.

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He sank to his knees, emotion and relief poured out before he disappeared among disbelieving and jubilant teammates.

"Those goals against Bournemouth and Chelsea meant a lot, you saw that from my reaction," said 26-year-old. "That feeling of relief helps you put the past behind you.

"That’s what I was doing even when things weren’t going to plan – I always look forward to better things.

"But they’re in the past now. My focus is to give more good performances in the future."

Brighton resume their Premier League campaign against Arsenal at the Amex on June 20. Graham Potter's men are just two points above the relegation places with nine tricky fixtures still to play.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh is mobbed by his teammates after his strike against Chelsea

After the Gunners, they tackle Champions League chasing Leicester and Manchester United, second placed Manchester City, champions-elect Liverpool, Norwich, Southampton, Newcastle and Burnley.

"We’re not going to put too much pressure on ourselves," added Jahanbakhsh. "We know the quality we have in the side and we know we’ve given some really good performances this season.

"There have been games where we deserved more but now we can only look forward. The relationship between the players and coaches is great and we know what they want from us.

"Since we’ve been back to training everyone’s looked sharp and hungry, we all want to give everything. There’s competition in the squad and I’m sure we’re going to do well between now and the end of the season."

Alireza Jahanbakhsh in action for Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar

Jahanbakhsh moved from Iran in 2013 to Dutch second tier outfit NEC Nijmegen, after impressing at a youth international tournament in Dubai. He joined AZ Alkmaar in 2015 and scored 34 goals from 79 league appearances.

He was the Eredivisie's leading scorer in 2017/18, and it was the first time an Asian player had achieved that in a top European league. It prompted Brighton to pay a then record fee and gave him a chance for him to impress in the Premier League.

"Throughout my career I have felt a responsibility to be a role model for the young footballers back in Iran," added Jahanbakhsh, who was born in Jirandeh - a city 200 miles north west of the capital Tehran.

"You have to be patient. I came from a very normal family and used to play with my friends in the street, but I wanted to make my dreams come true and I’ve done that through hard work.

"When I joined NEC in 2013, I’d had a few other offers. I was playing for the under-19 national side and after a tournament in Dubai I had interest from clubs in Turkey and France as well.

"I spoke with friends and people I trust in to try and take the right steps for my future. Most of them chose the Dutch opinion because of the academy at NEC and how they help you grow as a footballer and a person.

"At the same time, I had an offer from one of the biggest clubs in Iran! They have about 35million fans and I was close to joining them. They’d done all the paperwork and as I was about to sign when I had a call from Holland.

"I disappeared for a few days to make sure the Holland move could happen. They came to Iran to speak to my club and a deal was made. I explained to the Iranian club my reasons and that I wanted to move out of the country. They understood and it went from there. I wanted to learn and adapt to European football.

"I wanted to show it’s possible to make steps, grow and make it in Europe at the highest level. I wanted to show it doesn’t matter where you come from – if you work hard and have ambition you can create great things."

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