Champions Manchester City’s 12-match winning streak in the Premier League came to an end as Julio Enciso’s stunner earned sixth-placed Brighton and Hove Albion a 1-1 draw to seal them a Europa League berth on Wednesday.
Treble-chasing City, who wrapped up a fifth title in six seasons at the weekend, lacked their usual intensity but took the lead when Phil Foden slotted home in the 25th minute.
Brighton have qualified for Europe for the first time, and showed why with some vibrant football. Enciso equalised for the hosts with a long-range piledriver in the 38th minute.
Danny Welbeck had a goal ruled out before half time for Brighton and Erling Haaland thought he had put City ahead late on but was penalised for shirt-pulling.
It was the first time since February that City had dropped points and with one league game left at Brentford on Sunday they have 89 points, eight more than Arsenal. Brighton have 62, a total seventh-placed Aston Villa now cannot match.
Despite having clinched another title and with the FA Cup and Champions League finals to come, City manager Pep Guardiola’s hunger for victory was undiminished.
He was furious as Haaland was denied his late goal, earning himself a yellow card for his verbal volley.
But defeat would have been harsh on a Brighton side who have enjoyed the best campaign in the club’s history.
Brighton matched City throughout an enjoyable contest. Yet even with their eyes now focussed on two of the biggest games in the club’s history, City still packed a considerable punch with Haaland marauding forward.
Haaland’s goal rate has slowed considerably with only one in his last six games.
Pep praises champion’s intensity
Brighton: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised the intensity of his Premier League champions after a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday despite admitting to some booze-fuelled celebrations a little over 48 hours before.
“Exceptional game. Congratulations to Brighton for their qualification to the Europa League,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “The game we played, 48 hours after we drank all the alcohol in Manchester, 48 hours later we behaved and we showed why we were the champions.
“We showed what we have done with and without the ball. I didn’t see one drop in our intensity and idea. They had chances, we had chances, we scored a goal, they scored a goal.