Manchester City kept the pressure on their title rivals after claiming a hard-fought 2-0 win over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
- Manchester City 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0
- Sterling (29′) converts Sane cross
- Ryan (39′) denies Sterling a brace
- David Silva (58′) also tests Ryan
- Aguero (65′) caps off fine move
City took a while to get going but never looked in serious trouble after Raheem Sterling gave them the lead just before the half-hour mark.
The Seagulls worked hard to limit them until Sergio Aguero sealed the win in the 65th minute, which took Pep Guardiola’s side top of the table ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea in the late kick-off.
.@sterling7 bringing the flames!
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— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 29, 2018
Brighton made a bright start at the home of the champions as they gave Manchester City very little space in the middle by holding their defensive shape.
Ederson was called into action after just two minutes when Shane Duffy got on the end of Anthony Knockaert’s cross from the right, but his looping header was comfortable for the Brazilian keeper.
Knockaert had a better chance three minutes later after being picked out in space by Gaetan Bong on the cutback, although his shot from 14 yards out was deflected high and wide of the left post.
The Citizens finally found an opening in the 23rd minute when Sterling was played in behind the defence on the right and delivered a fine cross to Aguero, who scuffed an acrobatic volley from eight yards out.
Leroy Sane threatened three minutes later as he drilled a right-footed shot straight at Matty Ryan from 20 yards out following good combination play with Oleksandr Zinchenko on the left.
City cut the visitors apart with a swift breakaway on 29 minutes to open the scoring. Bernardo Silva pounced on a loose pass to send Aguero away and he slipped in Sane, whose low cross from the left was converted by Sterling at the back post.
Bernardo Silva failed to test Ryan with a low strike from 20 yards out on the right that he dragged wide of the near post on 33 minutes, as the hosts began to find increasing pockets of space in the final third, with Ryan forced to deny Sterling from 10 yards out six minutes later after a mistake from Lewis Dunk let the winger in on the right.
Ryan was alert to the danger as he pushed away a venomous long-range effort from Fernandinho on 44 minutes, while at the other end Knockaert made good contact with Solly March’s cross in added time, but saw his shot crucially blocked.
Chris Hughton’s troops managed to survive the growing pressure to go into half-time just one goal down, and they were soon under the cosh again when Kyle Walker flashed a low shot wide of the left post from 22 yards out after the defence failed to close him down in the 48th minute.
Zinchenko was also allowed space to shoot seven minutes later and he at least tested Ryan with a low strike from 22 yards out on the left, before Sane directed a downward header into the ground and over from Bernardo Silva’s pin-point cross to the back post on 57 minutes.
Albion were looking increasingly desperate at the back with Ryan having to parry David Silva’s shot from 14 yards out after a goalmouth scramble on 58 minutes, but the second goal wasn’t long in coming.
Aguero started and finished the move as the striker carved his way through the defence and played a one-two with Sterling before slotting past Ryan from eight yards out.
The Citizens survived late appeals for a penalty when a corner struck the outstretched arm of Fernandinho, but the referee deemed it unintentional as Ederson claimed a third clean sheet in succession.