Manchester City have already won the title and have been receiving the guard of honour since the title was confirmed. The clash against Brighton was a dead rubber. Still, in the end, it turned out to be a knife-edge affair where Brighton stunned the best team of the Premier League this season.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 18, 2021
City started the match the way a champion should do – the spectators present at the stadium hardly managed to have their seats while the commentators and officials were idly gaining their focus on the match and within two minutes into the game, Ilkay Gundogan gave the visitors a 1-0 lead after some magical work by Riyad Mahrez from the right who cut back and delivered Gundogan to finish the task.
The game was just nine or ten-minute old when Danny Welbeck escaped after Joao Cancelo lost the fight of the ball.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) May 18, 2021
A free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box, but wait, the referee had something to offer – VAR received boos for taking long to give the decision and Cancelo had to leave because a red card was shown against him. It was a blow for City as one of the best players of the Premier League this season would not play further in the match and the Sky Blues were down to ten men.
Fifteen minutes later Brighton lost Welbeck due to an injury.
— Leandro Trossard (@LTrossard) May 18, 2021
Brighton looked to penetrate the City backline but the scoreline remained 1-0 at half time and after the break, Phil Foden gave the champions a 2-0 lead with a beautiful goal.
He started his run deep in his own half, shook off Ben White and arrived at the goal and poked in.
Marvelous goal by a marvelous player!
Despite losing an important player City were showing their class.
Two minutes later, Leandro Tossard scripted a long run and then cut back in, delayed his shot and later, whacked back to reduce the deficit – it came from nowhere.
Special, special night! A long time without you fans but hopefully that was worth it! 💙 pic.twitter.com/zQV3npFCqB
— Adam Webster (@AdamWebster31) May 18, 2021
Brighton were making good use of the space granted by their man advantage. City sat back and tried to hold off the Brighton advancement who were looking better and better.
And the blow was just around the corner.
Adam Lallana, who came on for Jaahanbaksh, which was termed as an odd-time substitution, increased his pace and went on the sidle line and Rodri had to clear – Adam Webster flew in the air and headed home for his first goal in Brighton.
City forced a free-kick in a dangerous area.
Mahrez took with his left and Sanchez read the ball well to save.
A minute later, Ederson went on safari outside his box.
— Benjamin White (@ben6white) May 18, 2021
Chaos descended, Trossard played in the ball, and Burn almost fell over himself but still scores.
From 0-2 down to 3-2 with 15 minutes to go for City to come back, but Brighton were in a mood back then as Mac Allister, another of those attackers who have begun to ravage City, played the ball to Trossard whose shot could not beat Ederson at the near post.
Brighton were causing havoc with crossed balls and City seemed tormented by the storm.
Bissouma galloped on, Trossard tried to play in Trossard and then Mac Allister blazed a shot that Ruben Dias, who has been a one-man defence at times, deflected.
In the meantime, Lallana cut short a threat from Gabriel Jesus.
Sanchez made a fine save from a rasping Jesus shot while Eric Garcia speeds in and blasted the ball over.
And that was it – Brighton beat City for the first time since the Premier League era started.
Listen to the roar of the crowd!
Such a special moment for the Brighton fans in attendance tonight 🙏
This is what football is all about! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/qMBcT7KOMn
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 18, 2021
“Fantastic! To play against the best team, the champions are a wonderful test for us. It helped us with ten men for so long. We were brave with our defending from the start, and great to get the reward. They’re the best team, we had our night tonight. Pleased for the players, and pleased for the supporters. It’s a good way to bring them back,” said Graham Potter after the match.
“It’s been a tough year and a bit,” Graham Potter said. “We’ve suffered a lot. ‘Emotional’ is a good word to describe the feeling in the stadium and I thought the players gave everything, they gave a really top performance.”
While Pep Guardiola said, “We’ll have to improve for the final, we always have to finish with 11 players.”