Erling Haaland scores against Brighton as Man City get back to winning ways

Erling Haaland scores against Brighton as Man City get back to winning ways

Erling Haaland got back on the scoresheet as Manchester City returned to winning ways with narrow 2-1 win over Brighton.

After suffering successive defeats prior to the recent international break, the champions were in danger of falling to three consecutive Premier League losses for the first time under Pep Guardiola.

That did not seem likely once play began at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as early goals from Julian Alvarez and Haaland - his first City strike in four matches - put them on course for three points.

A reply from Brighton substitute Ansu Fati 17 minutes from time made for a nervous finish - and tension increased when Manuel Akanji picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time - but City held on.

For most of the game, City had looked more like their assertive selves with Rodri back after his costly recent suspension. The return of John Stones also brought more assurance, even though first-choice goalkeeper Ederson was on the bench after his recent international exertions for Brazil.

Brighton have impressed under Roberto De Zerbi - of whom Guardiola continually speaks highly - but, for all their enterprising play, their defence is proving leaky and their openness was quickly exploited.

Phil Foden troubled the visitors early on as he seized possession and broke forward to release the lively Jeremy Doku, who cut inside and curled over.

The opener was not long in coming and again Doku glided through the defence to reach the byline and pull back for Alvarez.

The Argentinian World Cup winner's strike was not the cleanest but such is his confidence that his first-time shot had too much power as he beat Jason Steele for his seventh goal of the season.

City maintained the pressure with another break from deep ending when Josko Gvardiol shot straight at Steele.

Kaoru Mitoma had Brighton's first opportunity but his tame effort was easily dealt with by Stefan Ortega and the Seagulls suffered a blow when Mancunian Danny Welbeck was forced off injured after 15 minutes.

Haaland took further advantage of Brighton's defensive weakness as he ended his recent - by his extraordinary standards - goal ˜drought' by doubling City's lead on 19 minutes.

The Norwegian was given too much space as he powered towards the box before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner from distance.

Alvarez attracted the attention of the VAR after a push on Pascal Gross but nothing was given and Doku threatened again when he beat veteran former City player James Milner but missed the target.

Brighton started to show life early in the second half as Gross skewed a shot wide under pressure.

Haaland latched onto a Foden pass just after the hour but his strike was beaten away by Steele.

Mitoma had another good chance after getting behind the City back line but Ortega rushed out to block on the edge of the area.

That was a warning City failed to heed and moments after Alvarez's attempt to lob a stranded Steele dropped short, they were caught on a rapid counter-attack.

Brighton quickly shifted the ball upfield and, although Mitoma's attempt to pass into the danger area was cut out by Akanji, Fati was on hand to turn in the rebound.

Brighton pressed to the end but struggled to create meaningful chances. Akanji's late dismissal brought more jitters for the home fans, but City completed the job.

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