De Zerbi had instructed his players that something needed to be set right in Athens. The Seagulls had surprisingly lost at home to AEK at the start of the group stage.
"Tonight we showed a different mentality," De Zerbi said contentedly on UEFA channels after the 1-0 victory on Greek soil. "We played with heart and soul. This is a historic day for Brighton, for the club, and for the supporters."
The supporters who traveled to Greece encountered an unpleasant surprise at the stadium. The police used tear gas to control the AEK fans. The tear gas drifted over to the away section. An English police spokesperson told the BBC: "A few supporters in the away section became unwell. It's not a pleasant feeling, especially if you have respiratory problems. If you've never experienced tear gas before, it's also frightening."
The euphoria was not completely overshadowed by this. De Zerbi encouraged Brighton fans to celebrate the success on this unforgettable evening. "We will never forget this result," said the Italian tactician, who had given Joël Veltman and Bart Verbruggen starting positions. Jan Paul van Hecke was suspended.