MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday (Oct 21) thanks to first-half goals by Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland.
After back-to-back league defeats, City were cruising to victory but Ansu Fati’s 73rd-minute reply for Brighton threatened to make it an anxious finale at the Etihad Stadium.
Alvarez opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a scuffed shot following great work by Jeremy Doku.
With influential midfielder Rodri back from suspension, City dominated the first half and Haaland took advantage of sloppy Brighton play to smash in City’s second after 19 minutes.
City should have added to their total but Brighton made things interesting when Fati slotted home and the hosts ended with 10 men after Manuel Akanji was shown a second yellow card deep in stoppage time.
Akanji will miss next week’s Manchester derby.
Victory lifted champions City back to the top of the table with 21 points from nine games, although Arsenal could go top with a win at Chelsea in a later kickoff.
There was clear relief after almost 10 minutes of stoppage time for City’s players and manager Pep Guardiola who had only lost three successive league games once in his career.
City were not back to their fluent best but Brighton, who dropped to seventh, deserve credit for the way they stretched the hosts after such a poor start.
Doku was again preferred to Jack Grealish and the Belgian’s pace was a constant thorn in Brighton’s side.
It was his teasing run down the left and cut back that helped City open the scoring although Alvarez’s strike was far from flush but evaded Jason Steele.
Haaland had gone almost a month without a goal for City but he needed no second invitation to end that dry spell as Brighton made a mess of a throw-in deep in their own half and the Norwegian was allowed through to fire past Steele for his 45th Premier League goal in 44 games.