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Chelsea took the lead at the Amex in the first half as new Blues captain Jorginho swiftly converted from the spot-kick.
However, Brighton were handed a lifeline early into the second half as Leandro Trossard's dipping and powerful shot from outside of the box beat the under-fire Kepa Arrizabalaga.
James, 20, stepped up only minutes later to restore Chelsea's advantage with a sensational strike from outside of the box.
Chelsea fans wasted no time in taking to Twitter to praise the Blues full-back for scoring his first Premier League goal with a 'thuderbolt' strike.
Chelsea increased their lead to 3-1 over Brighton as Kurt Zouma's volleyed effort took a flick off Adam Webster's boot to divert the ball past Ryan.
Full-time result: Chelsea secured all three points with a 3-1 victory over Brighton at the Amex.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports
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