Sterling and Agüero on target as Manchester City go top
Pep Guardiola’s side dominate against Brighton at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane in action with Brighton’s Shane Duffy. Photograph: EPA.
Manchester City 2 Brighton 0
Manchester City began an important week with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium to put them in top spot ahead of the evening kick-off between Chelsea and Liverpool.
Goals in the 29th and 65th minutes from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero earned City the three points in a game where they had 80 per cent possession and 28 shots to Brighton’s four.
City head to Hoffenheim on Tuesday needing a victory to ignite their Champions League challenge following the shock loss to Lyon before next Sunday’s much-anticipated clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
Agüero tried the spectacular in only the fourth minute, and his overhead kick from Bernardo Silva’s flicked cross looked to be on target before it struck a Brighton defender.
At the other end, the dangerous Anthony Knockaert saw an effort blocked by Fernandinho and was then booked for catching Zinchenko.
Brighton were certainly not making life easy for City but the pressure began to grow, with Agüero mistiming a second attempt at an overhead kick before Leroy Sane slammed a shot into Mat Ryan’s midriff from outside the box.
The breakthrough came three minutes later as the hosts succeeded in getting behind the Brighton defence for the first time. Agüero played in Sane who crossed for Sterling to slide in and apply the finish.
The Brighton goal stayed virtually under siege for the rest of the half and Ryan had to be alert to keep out well-struck efforts from Sterling and Fernandinho.
Brighton finally made it across the halfway line in injury time and Knockaert again found space but saw another effort blocked.
Any hope that half-time might stall City’s momentum was soon dashed as the assault on Ryan’s goal continued. Kyle Walker drilled a shot just past the post while Sane probably should have done better than head Bernardo Silva’s cross down and over the bar.
City somehow failed to extend their lead in the 58th minute as first Lewis Dunk produced a great block to deny Agüero and then Ryan kept out David Silva’s fierce drive.
But the Brighton goalkeeper was helpless seven minutes later as Agüero drove forward before playing a one-two with Sterling and sliding the ball into the corner.
He was substituted immediately with the points all but wrapped up, earning an enthusiastic hug from Guardiola.
‘Jose Mourinho, we want you to stay’ rang loudly around the Etihad as the City fans celebrated a nine-point lead over their neighbours after only seven games