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Manchester City 1 -0 Brighton Hove


Manchester City wins against Brighton to go 14 games unbeaten. Phil Foden grabbed the only goal just before half-time when he collected Kevin de Bruyne’s pass, created space and fired into the bottom corner. Manchester City extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches in all competitions with a hard-fought win over struggling Brighton.

The hosts had chances to extend the lead, Riyad Mahrez shooting just wide, Ilkay Gundogan seeing an effort saved by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez and Bernardo Silva hitting the crossbar. Most culpably, Raheem Sterling sent an injury-time penalty over the bar after Sanchez had fouled De Bruyne.

Alexis Mac Allister had perhaps the Seagulls’ best chance to equalise but shot over the top.

City’s fourth straight win in the league moves them up to third, although they will drop back to fourth if Tottenham win at home against Fulham in the late game on Wednesday.  Brighton, meanwhile, have now not won in nine league matches and could find themselves in the bottom three if 18th-placed Fulham come out on top at Spurs.

From the bottom half to title challengers
City have now not lost since 21 November when they were beaten 2-0 at Tottenham, a result that left Guardiola’s side 11th in the Premier League.

However, their form has been superb since then with 11 wins and three draws in all competitions, and only three goals conceded in that period. Across league and cups, they have now won seven in a row.

What makes those statistics even more impressive is that Guardiola has repeatedly been without key players because of coronavirus, with goalkeeper Ederson, defender Kyle Walker and forwards Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres among those to have missed recent matches.

Against Brighton, City were missing striker Sergio Aguero, the Argentine self-isolating following contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. With Sterling, Jesus and Torres starting on the bench, De Bruyne operated as a makeshift centre-forward.

And the Belgium international was at the heart of City’s best moves. He had a shot saved by Sanchez from a tight angle then released Mahrez, who could only shoot wide.

But just before half-time De Bruyne grabbed his ninth assist of the season when he slid a pass to Foden and the 20-year-old England midfielder did the rest, taking three touches to evade the Brighton defenders and then shooting past Sanchez.

Mahrez, Gundogan, Silva, Joao Cancelo and De Bruyne all had efforts inside the opening 20 minutes of the second half as City pushed for a second to kill the game off. Sterling, who came on in the 82nd minute as a replacement for Foden, fired a penalty over in stoppage time after Sanchez’s clumsy foul on De Bruyne.

City, champions in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and runners-up last time, are right back in contention. They are now only four points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand on their rivals.

Brighton lack cutting edge needed to get a point
Brighton, without a win in the Premier League since they beat Aston Villa 2-1 on 21 November, will be encouraged by their battling performance, but lacked the quality up front to get a point.

Graham Potter’s side had to wait 40 minutes for their first corner, and then the delivery was poor and City quickly broke with De Bruyne forcing a fine save from Sanchez.

The Seagulls did not have a shot on target until 10 minutes into the second half and that was no trouble for Ederson as Davy Propper’s strike was straight at him.

Percy Tau, making his Premier League debut more than two years after signing for Brighton, set up Mac Allister, who shot narrowly over. Potter brought on top goalscorer Neal Maupay for Tau for the last 22 minutes, but the Frenchman could not inspire an equaliser.

Source – BBC News

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