Brighton 0-2 Man City: Late City goals break Albion's resistance
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 13/08/17 7:33am
Brighton's first Premier League game ended in defeat as two late Man City goals earned the visitors a 2-0 win at the Amex on Saturday evening.
City dominated possession but were made to wait until the 70th minute for their opener as Sergio Aguero finished smartly after a mistake by Dale Stephens.
Lewis Dunk's own goal five minutes later sealed victory for Pep Guardiola's side, who also had a Gabriel Jesus goal ruled out for handball.
Aguero squandered City's first chance when he mis-kicked from Kyle Walker's cross, before Izzy Brown was forced off for Brighton with a suspected hamstring injury.
Brighton handed debuts to Mathew Ryan in goal, Davy Propper and Pascal Gross, while Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert started on the bench. Manchester City had three new faces in their XI, with Premier League debuts for Ederson, Kyle Walker and Danilo. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus started in attack.
It almost got worse for the hosts on 27 minutes but Jesus' bundled finish was ruled out for handball by referee Michael Oliver.
City failed to make their dominance count before the break as a fantastic save by Mathew Ryan denied Jesus, who struck the post on the follow-up under pressure from Bruno.
The visitors had the ball in the net again after the break but Silva was adjudged offside, while Aguero wasted another opening after Shane Duffy's short back-pass put Brighton in trouble.
Brighton: Ryan (6), Bruno (6), Dunk (6), Duffy (6), Suttner (6), Brown (6), Propper (7), Stephens (5), March (5), Gross (5), Hemed (5)
Subs: Knockaert (6), Murray (6), Murphy (6)
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (8), Kompany (7), Otamendi (7), Stones (7), Danilo (6), Fernandinho (7), De Bruyne (7), D Silva (7), G Jesus (7), Aguero (7)
Subs: Sterling (6), B Silva (6), Sane (6)
Man of the match: Kyle Walker
The hosts enjoyed a short spell of pressure shortly before Aguero's opener, with Duffy's deflected strike flying narrowly wide.
But they fell behind with 20 minutes to play and could not recover. Stephens surrendered possession cheaply in midfield and when Kevin De Bruyne played in David Silva, he picked out Aguero to finish.
City kept their foot down and got their second through Dunk, who headed past his own goalkeeper under pressure from Jesus.
- Sergio Aguero has now scored against 30 of the 31 sides he has faced in the Premier League (only failing to score against Bolton).
- Lewis Dunk is the seventh player to score an own-goal on his Premier League debut.
- Goalkeeper Mat Ryan attempted more passes than any outfield Brighton player in this match (27).
- Brighton enjoyed just 21.9 per cent of the possession against Manchester City; last season their lowest share in a Championship game was 31.5 per cent (vs. Huddersfield in February).
Man of the match - Kyle Walker
The new City full-back marked his competitive debut with a sharp attacking performance.
He will get tougher tests defensively but made the most of City's dominance to storm forward at every opportunity, creating the game's opening chance for Aguero.
Full-back is a position Pep Guardiola attaches particular importance to and it was just the kind of performance from Walker that City often lacked last season.
Chris Hughton: "For 70 minutes we played the game that we had to play.
"When you're up against the quality that they've got - they have designs on Champions League; ours is to stay in this division next season.
"For 70 minutes we kept them to minimal good chances. But probably the first moment you allow yourselves to get really stretched as a team they capitalised. That's the quality that they've got."
Pep Guardiola: "The first game is always complicated. We saw this weekend what happened in many games. From my experience in Barcelona too, especially against the newly promoted it's always difficult. And we did it.
"We were stable. We controlled the game and the game was in our hands. To start with three points away it's always so important."
Brighton will search for their maiden Premier League win when they travel to Leicester City next weekend, while Manchester City host Everton on Monday Night Football.