Yaya Toure was given a fitting farewell as Manchester City smashed several Premier League records in their 3-1 win over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Manchester City 3 Brighton and Hove Albion 1
Danilo (16′) puts City ahead
Ulloa (20′) grabs shock equaliser
Bernardo (34′) restores hosts’ advantage
Fernandinho (72′) seals victory
City started on the front foot and took the lead through Danilo in the 16th minute. However, the Seagulls stunned them four minutes later, cancelling out the opener through Leonardo Ulloa.
Bernardo Silva restored the lead for Pep Guardiola’s side 14 minutes later with a stunning strike, before a second-half Fernandinho strike wrapped up the victory.
The hosts began the match in trademark fashion, keeping hold of the ball and piling the pressure on Brighton. They should have taken the lead in the 10th minute, after Fernandinho cut the ball back for Ilkay Gundogan to shoot. However, a crucial block from Shane Duffy saved Brighton’s skin.
However, it was only a matter of time before the Citizens broke the deadlock. They hit Brighton on the counter before Leroy Sane released Danilo with an expertly-timed pass. The right-back did the rest from there, finding the bottom corner with a cracking finish in the 16th minute.
It was perhaps surprising to see Danilo of all people draw first blood, but the shocks didn’t end there. Within four minutes, the visitors were level. Davy Propper capitalised on a blunder from Claudio Bravo, who rushed off his line to stop him, leaving his goal exposed. The Dutchman crossed for Ulloa to head home.
Business as usual resumed thereafter, with City fighting to go back in front. The pressure paid off as they beat Mathew Ryan for a second time in the 34th minute, Sane was at the heart of it once again. His cross found Silva at the far post and the Portuguese winger squeezed a powerful strike home after taking a touch to control.
That goal took City past Chelsea’s previous record for a single Premier League season (103), but they weren’t done there. Throughout the early stages of the second half, they remained on the front foot.
However, Bravo nearly cost them the lead once again as he spilled Jose Izquierdo’s cross-shot. City were unable to clear, but Anthony Knockaert spared their blushes by firing over from close range in the 58th minute.
A first-time Fernandinho firebolt then doubled City’s lead in the 72nd, with Sane teeing him up after a well-worked corner, which caught the Brighton defence napping.
Toure’s final game at the Etihad didn’t produce a goal for the Ivorian, but he bowed out as part of a record-breaking team. The crowd gave him a hero’s send-off when he was replaced by Lukas Nmecha in the 86th minute.
Danilo came closest to adding to their advantage, but his 89th-minute free-kick struck the woodwork.
Victory for City saw them surpass two more old Chelsea records – the most points in a Premier League season (previously 95) and the most wins in a campaign (previously 30).