Brighton 1, Manchester City 4
Goals by Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden (twice), and Riyad Mahrez saw Manchester City move up to second in the Premier League with a comfortable win at Brighton.Embed from Getty Images
Foden was credited with two goals in a stunning first half blitz by City – though they won’t be the best goals he ever scores – as Brighton failed to stem the blue tide which came at them repeatedly after Gundogan had broken the deadlock before the young England midfielder set up Mahrez for a fourth goal in injury time.
It was the first time that Foden had been involved in three goals in a single Premier League game for City.
Brighton improved in the second half and got more shots off and were rewarded for their persistence when Alexis Mac Allister reduced the deficit from the penalty spot after Ederson brought down Enock Mwepu.
However, City had had the last word and Mahrez swept home a fourth as City showed their full backing for City supporter Guido De Pauw who has attacked in Belgium after their Champions League win over Club Brugge.
City boss Pep Guardiola paid his respects to his opposite number Graham Potter and claimed that Brighton fully deserved their top four position.
He said: “We know the team we faced today – they played similar to last season.
“It was a good lesson as for 30 minutes in the second half they were better than us.
“No matter how we face the game, we have to play.
“In the second half we didn’t adjust but we did brilliant to win the game.
“We won because we have good players. We saw what they did and figured out what to do.
“They were so aggressive to win the ball and knew what they had to do with the ball.
“They have all the mechanisms of a big team, they play like a top 4 or 5 side and they have courage – you have to admire that.”
And he also laid on the praise for man of the match Phil Foden, who impressively filled into a false nine role again, but added there was still room for improvement.
Guardiola added: “I like Phil in every role. He knows how to play football and it’s like we have an extra man in the positions we want to play.
“We need more players in certain positions and he has to quality to do it.
“He scored two goals but I had the feeling he could have scored more.
“But he had three or four man to mans with their keeper but didn’t always make the right decision – but he’s only 21 and he can improve.”
Phil Foden grabs two first half goals in Manchester City show of strength at Brighton
Ilkay Gündoğan returned to captain Guardiola’s latest selection while Gabriel Jesus also started with Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez rested while Raheem Sterling was missing from the squad with a back problem.
And City soon got a grip on the game in an imperious first half.
Robert Sanchez had to tip away a shot by Joao Cancelo as City got to work quickly.
And Jesus was denied by a superb hooked goal line clearance by Lewis Dunk after he had been put through by Gundogan after 11 minutes.
Gundogan had a tap in after 13 minutes after a mistake by Sanchez when he spilled the ball under pressure from Jesus before Bernardo Silva lobbed the loose ball up for the German to open the scoring after a VAR check.
It was the German’s third goal at Brighton in as many appearance at the Amex Stadium.
Leandro Trossard turned and blazed over after Pascal Gross had squared the ball into him while Jakub Moder headed wide.
Sanchez saved from Jesus as City put the Seagulls under immense pressure with balls coming from all angles.
A swift counter attack saw City score their second when Bernardo Silva released Jack Grealish and the square pass to Phil Foden who stabbed the ball home past Sanchez despite pressure from Dan Burn.
Phil Foden was awarded City’s third – although he knew little about it – after 31 minutes after Grealish’s shot was blocked.
Jesus got to the rebound and took a shot but the ball took a deflection off Foden to wrong foot Sanchez who got something on it but not enough to stop it going in for his fourth goal of the season.
Foden could have had a hat trick before the break but Sanchez dived on his left foot curler as City should have scored even more – hitting nine shots on target in the first half alone for a record under Pep Guardiola.
Solly March forced a save from Ederson after a rare mistake by Rodri but City had generally found it easy enough to contain Brighton who at least tested Ederson again in the second half with a shot which Ederson spilled with Neal Maupay too slow to react to the loose ball.
The Seagulls had changed shape in the second half and brought on Tariq Lamptey and Enock Mwepu but City had to adapt with Trossard forcing two saves from Ederson in the second half as the home side improved but were unable to grab a goal back as City lost their way for the third quarter.
City boss Pep Guardiola responded by bringing on Fernandinho to steady the ship with 15 minutes to go and De Bruyne shortly afterwards.
But that didn’t stop Brighton from claiming a penalty with 10 minutes to go when Trossard slipped in Mwepu and Ederson came off his line and made a rash challenge which brought the Zambian down.
After a VAR check, Alexis Mac Allister – the third Brighton substitute – slotted past the Brazilian who got hands on it but couldn’t stop the ball from going in past him for only the fourth goal that the Blues had conceded in the Premier League this season.
On balance of play in the second half it was a deserved goal and Brighton kept coming for another goal through the lively Lamptey who almost created his own opening late on as City made their final change – bringing on Riyad Mahrez for Jesus.
Foden was denied his hat trick after having late shots saved by Sanchez or blocked by Brighton defenders before the lively midfielder decided to set up Mahrez for his 7th goal of the season – a swept effort from 12 yards past Sanchez as City saw out the game before it got out of control.
GOALS – Brighton 1, Manchester City 4
Brighton 0, Man City 1: 13. Robert Sanchez spilled the ball after he went up to challenge for a deflected Phil Foden shot with Gabriel Jesus – the mistake allowed Bernardo Silva to lob the ball up to Ilkay Gundogan to tap in from close range.
Brighton 0, Man City 2: 28. A lightning counter attack saw Bernardo Silva release Jack Grealish who put the ball on a plate for Phil Foden with a square pass – a goal was the outcome.
Brighton 0, Man City 3: 31. Phil Foden found himself on the scoresheet when Gabriel Jesus fired in a shot was came off him after Jack Grealish’s blocked shot came out to the Brazilian and his shot went in off both Foden and Robert Sanchez from the edge of the box.
Brighton 1, Man City 3: 81. Alexis Mac Allister fired home from the penalty spot after Ederson rashly brought down Enock Mwepu. Ederson got his hands to it but couldn’t stop it going past him.
Brighton 1, Man City 4: 90+5. Riyad Mahrez swept home from 12 yards out after Phil Foden unselfishly set him up in added time.
MATCH STATS – Brighton 1, Manchester City 4
Brighton: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Burn (Lamptey 57), Cucurella, Gross (Mac Allister 72), Moder, Lallana, March, Trossard, Maupay (Mwepu 57)
Brighton subs not used: Steele, Webster, Connolly, Bissouma, Duffy, Richards
Bookings: Moder 63 (foul on Rodri); Lallana 70 (foul on Ilkay Gündoğan)
Goal: Mac Allister 81 pen
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Gundogan (Fernandinho 75), Jesus (Mahrez 87), Foden, Grealish (De Bruyne 77)
Man City subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko, Edozie, Palmer
Bookings: Walker 22 (foul on Marc Cucurella); Cancelo 60 (foul on Tariq Lamptey); Ederson 84 (time wasting)
Goals: Gundogan 13; Foden 28, 31; Mahrez 90+5
Referee: Kevin Friend