Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton


Manchester City reclaimed their place at the top of the Premier League by scoring three times in the second half of their 3-0 win over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium.

The scoreline somewhat flattered Pep Guardiola’s men, who were nervous on points as they struggled to break down the stubborn Seagulls.

In the end, it was a comfortable night for City, but they looked nervous at points
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It took deflected shots from Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden to break through and the sense of relief that swept the field after an anxious opening period was tangible.

Bernardo Silva calmed the nerves completely with a fine third goal for the hosts eight minutes from time.

Manchester United’s hammering by Liverpool on Tuesday had put the pressure back on City in an exciting title chase.

Manager Pep Guardiola made six changes following the FA Cup semi-final loss to the Reds, with Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson among those to return.

As a result, the locals’ confidence was not lacking, but Brighton were in no mood to make it easy.

City showed their threat for the first time after ten minutes as they put together a deft move and Foden whipped in a cross from the left but Mahrez failed to make decent contact with his header.


Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton
City are now one point above Liverpool in the table
AFP

Mahrez had another chance soon after when goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s clearance fell on him, but the Algerian took too long and allowed Moises Caicedo to come back and tackle.

Sanchez was more convincing when he fended off a cross from De Bruyne and he also did well to recover an effort from Silva under his own bar.

The closest town came in the first half when De Bruyne unleashed a ferocious shot from range but flew narrowly.

City kept pushing but Brighton’s determination was epitomized before the break by captain Lewis Dunk, who held on to block an Ilkay Gundogan effort.

City were forced into a half-time change when Nathan Ake, who started at left-back, was replaced by Ruben Dias after suffering a knock.

Dias, himself back to action after nine games through injury, resumed his usual position at centre-back with John Stones moving to right-back and Joao Cancelo changing flank to the left.

City picked up the pace and forced a succession of corners before finally breaking through after 53 minutes.

Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton
Mahrez had a bit of luck opening the scoring
AFP

De Bruyne led a deep breakaway and fed Mahrez, although the pass was improved by a lucky ricochet. With the opportunity opening up, Mahrez raced to goal and hit a shot that also deflected, this time off Dunk, and past goalkeeper Sanchez.

With that, much of the tension in the air seemed to evaporate and City continued to roar.

Brighton remained resolute enough to block an effort from Stones in a crowded area and for Sanchez to save well from De Bruyne, but the visitors were pierced again in the 65th minute.

Again City benefited from a lucky break as Foden aimed from wide after a corner and saw his effort cut off Enock Mwepu to take Sanchez on the wrong foot and find the bottom corner.

Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton
Foden’s deflected effort almost sealed the three points
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Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton
Before Silva added some shine to the scoreline
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Foden approached another after being passed shortly after, but Sanchez stood up straight to save with his legs.

City ended the game late after Brighton made a mess playing from behind.

Substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko took possession and found De Bruyne, who in turn allowed Silva to sweep home from the edge of the box.

Man City reclaim Premier League top spot from Liverpool with win over Brighton
City won’t let go of their title without a big fight
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