Monday, March 1

Foden’s winner down Brighton

Phil Foden’s goal earned Manchester City a nervous 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.

Manchester City moved to within four points of the Premier League leaders with the win. On a sodden night at the Etihad Stadium, Foden’s clinical finish just before halftime proved enough for City to claim a fourth consecutive league win.

But it wasn’t an easy win for the citizens. They were at their slickest at times on Wednesday, with Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings again. For a far-post volley, the Belgian teed up Riyad Mahrez but Mahrez failed to make proper contact and, after a lightning break. He forced a great save by keeper Sanchez. De Bruyne slipped a pass to Foden. Foden’s first touch left two defenders for dead before he sent a low-shoot slide rule inside the post. It was beyond Sanchez’s dive and thus city lead 1-0.

After the break, City turned the screws and Mahrez wasted a good opportunity again. He shot wide after going clear. From Ilkay Gundogan, Sanchez made a superb stop and Bernardo Silva fired a shot against the frame of the goal. Surprisingly, in the final 20 minutes, City lost its grip on the game and Brighton sensed an opportunity. One effort was curled just wide by Alex Mac Allister.

Bernardo’s low ball across the area was agonizingly just out of reach of the sliding Davy Propper. It gave Sterling the opportunity to boost his meager tally of four league goals this season. but his kick cleared the bar when Sanchez fouled De Bruyne. With keeper Robert Sanchez and the woodwork coming to Brighton’s rescue, City had opportunities in the second half to stretch their lead, but the visitors finished strongly. In stoppage time, the hosts could have eased the tension, But substitute Raheem Sterling lashed a penalty over the crossbar.

However, City held on to move into the top four with 32 points from 16 games. They are now four behind Manchester United leaders and one behind Liverpool champions having played one matchless. The winless league run of Brighton now extends to nine. And they are perched one place above the zone of relegation. Foden is now City’s leading scorer this season with eight goals in all competitions.

And when he was finally replaced late on by Sterling. He walked off having made another emphatic statement to Guardiola and England manager Gareth Southgate.

There was a degree of relief for City at the final whistle but with seven successive wins in all competitions and comfortable fixtures ahead, they are looking ominous.

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