Aaron Mooy's first red card of his professional career has cost Brighton & Hove Albion crucial Premier League points as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.
Brighton's afternoon was made more difficult when Socceroos midfielder Mooy was dismissed for two yellow cards in five minutes, his first for kicking the ball away after conceding a free-kick before he went through the back of Jack Grealish on 35 minutes.
Brighton manager Graham Potter admitted Mooy's exit played a big role in the final result.
"It is a painful one that is for sure," he said.
"The sending off has a big influence on the match and until then we were the better team and deserved to be 1-0 up.
"Second half I thought we played with tremendous courage and quality.
Both teams came into the game on the back of fine wins before the international break, Villa thrashing Norwich City and Brighton heaping more misery on Tottenham Hotspur.
The visiting Seagulls led on 21 minutes at Villa Park after they were were awarded a contentious free-kick.
Pascal Gross sent the resulting set-piece to the back-post where off-season signing Adam Webster rose to head back across Tom Heaton to open the scoring.
Mooy's dismissal gave Villa the impetus and their captain Grealish equalised in first-half stoppage time when he slid in to bundle a cross over the line from point-blank range.
The hosts secured the three points with virtually the last kick of the game as Matt Targett beat Australian No.1 Mat Ryan from a tight angle to register his first goal for the club and end the resilience of 10-man Brighton.
Villa are 11th on 11 points from nine game while Brighton are 16th, on nine points and just one point above the drop zone.
Australian Associated Press