Manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must improve for the Champions League final after Brighton came back to beat his 10-man side at Amex Stadium.
New Premier League champions City, who face Chelsea in the European showpiece on 29 May, blew a two-goal advantage to lose 3-2 on a raucous evening on England’s south coast, played out in front of 7,495 fans.
Ilkay Gundogan silenced the supporters with a second-minute opener, but City were a man down after nine minutes, when Joao Cancelo was judged to have brought down Danny Welbeck, who was goal side of the defender.
Phil Foden’s superb solo effort put the visitors 2-0 up – but Leandro Trossard gave Brighton hope with a cool close-range finish, and the home side then put intense pressure on the champions’ goal.
Adam Webster levelled, rising highest in the box to head home Pascal Gross’s delivery and then, with 14 minutes left, Dan Burn sent the fans into raptures with the winner, following up his own blocked shot to steer the rebound into the corner of the net.
“Eleven against 11 against Brighton is tough, 11 against 10 is difficult so we have to improve for the final,” said Guardiola.
“Unfortunately after 0-2, we conceded a goal so quick and after they push a lot, we were more tired and could not keep the ball as much as possible – we could not do it and unfortunately we lost the game.
“On Sunday, with our people, we are going to lift the [Premier League] trophy. And after we are going to go for the final of the Champions League.
“I am concerned because this is the final of the Champions League, because the opponent is so tough.”
City also lost Gundogan to injury in the second half, but Guardiola provided positive news about the midfielder after the game.
“We are going to check tomorrow,” said the manager of the German, who had earlier scored his 17th goal of the season.
“The doctor is quite optimistic. The problem is a kick and he was running in the second half with disruption and I didn’t want to take a risk.”
Albion give their fans something to cheer
Brighton were already safe from the drop, but have now moved to 41 points and up to 15th in the Premier League table. They also have a first win over City since April 1989.
The game was the perfect way for Albion to sign off their home season, with a performance somewhat aided by having a man advantage for 81 minutes but also entirely in keeping with the positive ethos of manager Graham Potter.
After Foden had added to Gundogan’s opener early in the second half, it looked as though Brighton were heading for a frustrating defeat characterised by missed opportunities.
Welbeck had chipped a shot over Ederson side and wide before Pascal Gross fluffed a close-range shot following a pull-back.
But their response to Foden’s goal was timely and crucial, with Trossard finally finding the patience, skill and efficiency to evade a series of challenges in the box and fire in.
The crowd lifted, it provided a surge of belief through the home players, which they rode to victory. In a period of sustained pressure, the excellent Ben White saw two long-range efforts blocked.
They were not to be denied, as Webster struck with his header before Burn hammered home at the second attempt, choosing the best possible moment to score his first goal for the club.
The cheer at full-time was more representative of a full house than just under 7,500 – and spoke of a unified approval of a job well done and a joy at what live football can provide.
“It was an emotional feeling in the stadium and I thought the players gave a top performance which the crowd appreciated.” Potter said. “The supporters were fantastic and it was a great game.
“Obviously we benefited when they went down to 10 men so early, but we still had to play well and with the personality that we did.
“We have improved and we have a young team that can get better and better.
“I am really pleased for the players. They have had a tough year, they have stuck at it and it’s nice to enjoy a fantastic victory with our supporters and get to 41 points.”
Tired Man City suffer for early red
Having wrapped up their seventh English top-flight title and third under Guardiola, City’s focus is now principally on that European final against Chelsea in Porto.
City have conceded six goals in two games, but it would too simplistic to suggest that they have taken their eye off domestic matters.
This game had one major extenuating circumstance in Cancelo’s dismissal, leaving his team-mates to soldier on without him for most of the game, at the end of a demanding season against a side buoyed by home support for the first time in five months.
They almost pulled it off too and possibly would have done had they held on for a bit longer before conceding Brighton’s first. However, once the tide turned, it proved too much.
Special mention must be made of Foden’s goal – a powerful, driving run followed by a superb finish into the far corner, which served only to underline once more how big a player he could be for England this summer.
The loss ends City’s record-breaking runs of 12 successive away league victories and a 23-match unbeaten run away from home in all competitions.
They will now have the chance to play in front of home fans themselves when Everton visit Etihad Stadium on Sunday and then all attention switches to the Porto’s Estadio do Dragao and the chance for European glory.
City record lowest percentage of Pep Guardiola’s managerial career
- Manchester City’s possession figure in this match was just 37% – the lowest recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in a single top-flight match.
- Manchester City have lost six Premier League games having led by two or more goals – only Tottenham (with eight) have suffered more such defeats in the competition’s history.
- This was just the second time in Premier League history a team starting the day top of the table has led by two or more goals and lost, after Manchester City themselves did so against Manchester United in April 2018.
- Brighton picked up their first-ever Premier League victory over Manchester City. They had lost each of their previous seven against the Citizens by an aggregate score of 21-2.
- Manchester City have conceded six goals in their past two away Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 14 on the road in the competition.
- Dan Burn’s winner for Brighton was his first-ever Premier League goal (in his 69th appearance), and his first in any league since April 2018 (for Wigan against Fleetwood).
- Manchester City’s Phil Foden has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season. Among players in the top five European leagues currently aged under 21, only Erling Haaland (39) has scored more.
- Ilkay Gundogan’s goal was the 10th that Manchester City have scored in the opening two minutes under Guardiola in the Premier League – only Arsene Wenger (19) and Alex Ferguson (17) have seen their sides score more in this timeframe in the competition.
- Joao Cancelo’s red card, after nine minutes and three seconds, was Manchester City’s second earliest from the start of a Premier League game, after Dedryck Boyata was sent off after four minutes and 28 seconds against Arsenal in October 2010.
- Manchester City became just the third side to have both scored a goal and had a player sent off in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League match, after Blackburn Rovers (against Leeds in February 1995) and Norwich City (against Portsmouth in January 2005).
- Leandro Trossard (five goals, five assists) is just the second Brighton player to register at least five goals and five assists in a single Premier League campaign, after Pascal Gross in 2017-18 (seven goals, eight assists).
The final round of fixtures sees Man City host Everton, while Brighton travel to Arsenal. Both games are on Sunday and kick-off at 16:00 BST.
Brighton & Hove Albion
- 26SánchezBooked at 90mins
- 4WebsterBooked at 90mins
- 16JahanbakhshBooked at 27minsSubstituted forLallanaat 49′minutes
- 17AlzateSubstituted forZeqiriat 65′minutes
- 10Mac Allister
- 18WelbeckSubstituted forTrossardat 28′minutes
- 27CanceloBooked at 10mins
- 3Rúben Dias
- 20Bernardo SilvaBooked at 74minsSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 77′minutes
- 16RodriBooked at 79mins
- 8GündoganSubstituted forFernandinhoat 56′minutesBooked at 82mins
- 21TorresSubstituted forGarcíaat 15′minutes
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- 17De Bruyne
- Stuart Attwell
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 3, Manchester City 2.
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 3, Manchester City 2.
Robert Sánchez (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Rúben Dias (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Eric García (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt saved. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Fernandinho.
VAR Decision: No Penalty Manchester City.
Attempt saved. Andi Zeqiri (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Fernandinho (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Adam Lallana (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
Attempt missed. Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt blocked. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andi Zeqiri.
Foul by Jakub Moder (Brighton and Hove Albion).
John Stones (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.