Match ends, Manchester City 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Manchester City avoided a third consecutive Premier League defeat as two first-half goals secured victory over Brighton at Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side had lost their previous two top-flight matches – away to Wolves and Arsenal – and have never recorded three consecutive league defeats under the Spaniard.
The defending champions showed their intent early on as Julian Alvarez opened the scoring after just seven minutes, floating an effort over the head of Brighton keeper Jason Steele after a delightful run and cut-back from Jeremy Doku.
Erling Halaand ended a run of three matches without a goal 10 minutes later as he pounced on a Carlos Baleba mistake in the middle of the park and sent a thunderous left-footed shot into the back of the net.
A more composed second half from the visitors saw Ansu Fati capitalise on a poor Manuel Akanji clearance inside the penalty area.
The goal made for a nervy final period as City clung on and Brighton pushed for an equaliser with City forced to see out stoppage time with 10 men when Akanji was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Doku was a constant threat throughout down the left-hand side, setting up Alvarez for the opener and twice going close with long-range curling efforts.
Argentine forward Alvarez had the opportunity for a second with a curling free-kick and Phil Foden was unlucky not to see his effort nestle in the top corner.
The victory moves City top of the Premier League before Arsenal face Chelsea later on Saturday.
Haaland back on the score sheet
Three matches can hardly be referred to as a goal drought but, having scored 52 goals in 53 games across all competitions last season, even just one match without Haaland scoring comes as a surprise.
In the previous two league games the Norwegian had attempted just one shot, an uncharacteristic run of form for the prolific goal scorer, who smashed the record for most top-flight goals scored in a single season last year with 36.
And as Haaland ran to celebrate with his team-mates and fans after hammering his shot home to break the dry run, his expression was one of ecstasy, then relief.
Haaland was supported by the impressive Doku and Foden down the flanks and the former had the home crowd on their feet each time he went on a darting run down the wing.
Alvarez has also stepped up in the absence of Haaland’s goals, netting four times in eight matches after many had questioned whether the two could play in the same team.
With Rodri and John Stones back in the side, the former back after serving a three-match suspension and the latter returning from injury, City are almost at full strength with just Kevin de Bruyne still sidelined.
For large parts, it looked to be back to business as usual for City but Brighton’s goal and Akanji’s late red card, which means he will miss next week’s Manchester derby, turned a straightforward win into an edgy final few minutes.
More to follow.
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Brighton & Hove Albion
- 25AkanjiBooked at 90mins
- 20Bernardo Silva
- 16RodriBooked at 38mins
- 19ÁlvarezSubstituted forAkéat 90+6′minutes
- 5StonesSubstituted forRúben Diasat 75′minutes
- 11DokuSubstituted forGrealishat 75′minutesBooked at 84mins
- 3Rúben Dias
- 6MilnerSubstituted forVeltmanat 45′minutes
- 3dos Santos de PauloBooked at 64mins
- 7MarchBooked at 36minsSubstituted forvan Heckeat 90+4′minutes
- 20BalebaSubstituted forGilmourat 66′minutes
- 18WelbeckSubstituted forFergusonat 16′minutes
- 9João PedroSubstituted forAnsu Fatiat 66′minutes
- 29van Hecke
- 31Ansu Fati
Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Foul by Phil Foden (Manchester City).
Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Bernardo Silva.
Substitution, Manchester City. Nathan Aké replaces Julián Álvarez.
Second yellow card to Manuel Akanji (Manchester City) for a bad foul.
Foul by Manuel Akanji (Manchester City).
Ansu Fati (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Jan Paul van Hecke replaces Solly March because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Erling Haaland (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Billy Gilmour (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Jack Grealish (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Pascal Groß (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Substitution, Manchester City. Jack Grealish replaces Jérémy Doku.
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