Manchester City returned to winning ways with a dramatic 2-1 home victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.
After back-to-back defeats at Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break, Pep Guardiola’s side hoped to avoid three straight league losses for the first time during the Spaniard’s tenure.
The Cityzens faithful couldn’t have hoped for a better start as Julian Alvarez fired the hosts in front only seven minutes into the game with a delightful left-footed finish.
Jeremy Doku breezed past ageing James Milner and picked out the Argentine forward with a nice cut-back on the edge of the box, with the latter hitting the top corner with an unstoppable first-team effort.
Marquee striker Erling Braut Haaland was hungry for goals after drawing a blank in his last two Premier League outings as he returned to the scoresheet with a scintillating finish from just outside the penalty area.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner picked up a loose ball on the periphery of the Brighton box and unleashed a superb low shot into the bottom corner, doubling Man City’s lead before the 20-minute mark.
Despite their impressive scoring exploits at the start of the new campaign, the Seagulls looked powerless in the first half, making just one attempt on goal in the opening 45 minutes.
Guardiola’s lads were in cruising control of proceedings before half-time, with Doku running the show at the Etihad Stadium with his trademark runs down the left flank.
He was by far Man City’s liveliest player in the first half, but his teammates often failed to keep up with his lightning speed, resulting in numerous wasted opportunities.
Brighton changed the pace after the restart, showing much more promise in the final third as they tried to whittle down a two-goal deficit.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side came close to cutting the Cityzens’ advantage in half only eight minutes into the second half.
Pascal Gross received the ball in his stride and broke one-on-one with Man City’s second-string goalkeeper Stefan Ortega but failed to hit the target from point-blank.
The German midfielder’s miss almost backfired on Brighton in the 68th minute as Haaland forced an impressive diving save from Jason Steele from close range.
Chances were flying on both ends of the pitch, with Kaoru Mitoma’s free header on the back post going narrowly wide of the post after Solly March found him unmarked on the back post.
Brighton deserved the goal and they found one through second-half substitute Ansu Fati. The Barcelona loanee latched on to the rebound inside Man City’s box and slotted the ball past Ortega in the 73rd minute.
Things got more complicated for Guardiola’s side when referee Robert Jones sent off Manuel Akanji for the second bookable offence in stoppage time.
However, Man City weathered the storm to become the first-ever Premier League side to win 21 consecutive home games in all competitions, bettering Manchester United’s 20-game winning streak.
If it’s any consolation for Brighton, they’ve at least extended their fantastic scoring run to 24 straight top-flight matches.
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