In what was an entertaining affair on the south coast that saw both sides create plenty of chances, with Phil Foden and Julio Enciso scoring the goals, although there were three more disallowed during the game.
It was Brighton who started the game on top, with Danny Welbeck seeing a shot blocked and Billy Gimlour scuffing his effort from the edge of the box inside the first 10 minutes. Pascal Gross then forced Stefan Ortega into a save from a free-kick, while from a similar area Welbeck’s free-kick struck the post.
But City did create chances with Erling Haaland spurning two great opportunities. He headed over early from a Foden cross and then hit the ball straight at Brighton keeper Jason Steele from close range.
The Norwegian was heavily involved in City’s opener on 25 minutes, although he provided the assist on this occasion rather than scoring himself. Haaland took advantage of Brighton’s high line and, having got in behind, he opted to pass to Foden rather than shoot himself due to the presence of two covering defenders. Foden took a touch before firing at goal, and Jan Paul van Hecke will be disappointed with his attempts to clear the ball off the line.
Just after the half-hour mark, Brighton got an equaliser, but it was correctly ruled out for handball against Kaoru Mitoma. The Japanese international inadvertently bundled the ball over the line with his arm as he fell over.
Facundo Buonanotte then tested Ortega with a powerful effort, before the Seagulls found an equaliser in sublime fashion via Enciso. The Paraguayan unleashed a powerful swerving strike from around 25 yards out that flew past the helpless Ortega.
Not long before the break, Welbeck had another Brighton goal that was chalked off, this time for an offside decision against the ex-Manchester United man just moments before he smashed the ball into the back of the net. Foden produced the final chance of the half when his header failed to hit the target.
It was City who started brighter after the break and in the opening stages of the second period Haaland’s acrobatic scissor kick flew over, Ilkay Gundogan shot deflected wide, while Steele saved efforts from Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer.
But Brighton kept testing the City defence with Ortega making good saves to deny Evan Ferguson and Mitoma, before Pervis Estupinan nearly scored an incredible strike from distance after 77 minutes.
Haaland was still creating problems and he produced a superb touch and shot that flew wide. The striker did score a header on 79 minutes but it was ruled out after a check at the pitchside monitor for a shirt pull on Levi Colwill just before he nodded in Palmer’s cross, a decision which infuriated Pep Guardiola on the sideline.
In the latter stages, both Mitoma and Haaland missed headers, with the pace of the game dropping a tad due to the number of substitutes.
Here’s who impressed and who flattered to deceive down at the South Coast, courtesy of Manchester Evening News‘ player ratings.
Ortega: Almost let Brighton in twice early on with some dodgy decisions but made a number of decent saves after. 7
Walker: Lost out to Mitoma a few times and his shooting from distance has unsurprisingly not improved overnight. 5
Stones: The most composed at the back and took up good positions. 7
Rodri: In a less familiar role at centre-back, a few nervy moments but settled into the role. 7
Lewis: Solid enough in a hybrid role starting at left-back, although his attacking play lacked conviction. 6
Gundogan: Still found space to push forward and test Steele, and took charge in the second half. 7
Bernardo: Tried to be too cute at times, and was also booked, but came into the game as it went on. 6
De Bruyne: Some bursts into action but otherwise a quiet and an early night. 6
Mahrez: Lovely play for Foden’s goal but didn’t do enough after that and faded out of the game. 6
Foden: Comfortably City’s best player before he went off, a creative force and also worked back. 8
Haaland: Should have scored two but did assist one, and unfortunate for the disallowed effort. 5
Palmer (for Foden, 51): Looked bright and thought he had an assist. 7
Alvarez (for De Bruyne, 57) Troubled Brighton with his direct running but no goal threat. 6
Gomez (for Stones, 84) No time to mark
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