The home side defended admirably on their Premier League debut but eventually succumbed to Sergio Aguero’s strike and a Lewis Dunk own goal
Peep peep! It’s a great day for Brighton, despite the result. They are a Premier League team, and did enough to suggest they will pick up their share of points against teams outside the top six. The self-inflicted manner of the goals will irritate them though. City were smooth, if a bit one-paced for a Pep Guardiola team, and fully deserved to win. Thanks for your company, goodnight!
88 min BT Sport’s Man of the Match is Kyle Walker. He’s been excellent, though I’d have given it to De Bruyne.
87 min Both sides have done their work for the day. Brighton will be happy to have avoided a pasting, and to have defended so well for large parts of the game.
84 min City are now playing a freestyle 3-1-6-0 formation.
83 min Aguero is replaced by the new boy Bernardo Silva.
82 min Sterling is booked for a cynical foul on Glenn Murray.
81 min Knockaert runs onto a brilliant long pass from Dunk, tries to wriggle between two defenders and falls over. No penalty.
78 min The superb Gabriel Jesus is replaced by Raheem Sterling.
77 min Just before that second goal, De Bruyne played a lofted pass – a golf shot, really – of extraordinary precision onto the head of Silva. He nodded it across the face of goal and it was half cleared, before Brighton lost the ball and City scored the second. It’s worth looking out for on the highlights, because it was the touch of a genius.
76 min Brighton have brought on Anthony Knockaert for March.
Brighton again gave the ball away, this time to Aguero. It went wide to Fernandinho, who curled a cross onto the six-yard line. Dunk challenged for it with Jesus and unwittingly headed it into his own net.
72 min It’s such a cliche, but good Premier League teams can be ruthless at punishing little mistakes. One moment Stephens dithered on the halfway line, the next moment Aguero scored.
71 min “With Brighton defending with 10 men in their half,” says Phil Podolsky, “it feels like City could use the calm, elegant midfield presence of a Yaya Toure to give the clever pass, no?”
They are definitely short of clever passers.
City break Brighton on the counter-attack. It came from a mistake by Stephens, who gave the ball to De Bruyne on the halfway line. He played it into Silva, who slipped a killer first-time pass to put Aguero clear on goal. He took a touch, looked up and crashed the ball past Ryan.
68 min A City substitution: Leroy Sane replaces Danilo.
67 min De Bruyne thrashes a drive that hits the hand of Dunk in the area. Michael Oliver ignores City’s penalty appeals. Dunk was a fair way from the original shot and, although he was trying to pull it away from the ball, it was in an unnatural position. That could easily have been given.
65 min De Bruyne wins a corner with a terrific run down the right. He plays ballboy for himself, grabbing the ball before running over to take the corner. He is the most admirable, brilliant footballer.
64 min De Bruyne’s imaginative scoop is too far in front of Walker and goes through to Ryan. City look frustrated. Leroy Sane is about to come on.
63 min It’s not happening for City, despite the purposeful probing of De Bruyne in particular. I’m surprised Guardiola hasn’t changed anything because at the moment they don’t look like scoring.
62 min “Completely agree that the judgement over a handball is open to interpretation,” says Ben Paul. “What I’m puzzling over is whether a handball can be deliberate enough to warrant a free-kick, but at the same time accidental enough that a yellow card is harsh. Is it not one or the other? And if it’s deemed accidental then the goal should have stood, no? I know this is one of this instances where the law is often applied in a rather loose way, but it seems odd that the law should be explicit about the deliberate nature of a handball offence for referees to then interpret it based on the situation. I remember in the Barcelona – Inter Milan UCL semi-final, Iniesta scored a very late goal that would have seen Barcelona go through only to see it ruled out for a handball that was clearly accidental. Rankles me to this day that that goal should have stood.”
I remember that, and was surprised how little fuss there was about it at the time. Didn’t suit the story I suppose. It’s hard to say without checking the law but I think there are three tiers of handball, at least in the way the law is enforced: cynical and bookable, accidental but sufficiently reckless and/or significant to be a foul, and then accidental and no foul. I agree though, it’s a bit strange. I suspect if we all read the laws we’d find all kinds of things we didn’t know, or that don’t quite make sense.
59 min Another Brighton change: Glenn Murray replaces Tomer Hemed up front.
57 min Ederson is all over the place from the corner. He palms it straight to Dunk, whose shot is blocked by the feet of Ederson. His follow-up is blocked again, this time by a defender, and ricochets to Propper, who thrashes a superb low shot from 25 yards that goes just wide. Ederson didn’t look good there.
56 min The corner is half cleared to Duffy, whose snapshot goes fractionally wide of the post with Ederson beaten. Another corner is given, so maybe it took a deflection.
55 min A good attack from Brighton. Suttner swings a deep cross that tempts Ederson from his line. He’s stuck in no man’s land and Danilo, under pressure from Propper, heads onto the roof of his own net for a Brighton corner.
53 min Aguero misses a sitter! It was gifted to him by Duffy, whose blind backpass was woefully short of the keeper Ryan. Aguero intercepted it, opened up his body to place it in the far corner – and instead sliced it well wide.
52 min Jesus has another goal disallowed, this time for offside against Silva in the build up. It was the right decision, though it was much closer than it looked at first sight.
50 min A long, slow build-up from City, lasting two minutes or so, until Fernandinho rakes a low drive from distance that is comfortably held by the sprawling Ryan.
48 min The second half has started as the first ended, in the Brighton half. It’s been a strange game so far, with City enjoying a total yet harmless domination.
47 min Sane, Sterling and Silva (B) are already warming up for City.
46 min Peep peep! Brighton begin the second half.
Tomer Hemed not doing enough work up front for Brighton. Needs to quicken up. Bruno, Duffy and March have been good. 0-0 ht.
“Pep has basically dressed as Larry David today,” says Jeremy Dresner. “Beige trousers sensible normcore sweater and white ‘soccer shoes’. Pretty pretty good!”
Brighton will be very pleased with that. They have hardly touched the ball, it’s true, but far more important is that the keeper Matt Ryan has hardly touched the ball. Aside from one terrific save from Jesus, he hasn’t had much to do. And although City have been bright and busy, the 3-1-4-2 formation hasn’t quite worked as they would have hoped. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45 min “Just a quick point, but if the Jesus handball was (as you say) accidental and not deserving of a yellow card, then shouldn’t the goal have stood?” says Ben Paul. “By the laws of the game, a handball is only a handball if it’s a deliberate act. An accidental handball should result in continuation of play, even if what follows might be deemed an unfair outcome for the opposition team. I know it would seem harsh to concede a goal in that way, but isn’t that the law?”
Isn’t It partly an issue of interpretation? I can’t be sure as I haven’t done my revision but I thought the law didn’t specify what constituted ‘deliberate’.
45 min Brighton win a free-kick on the right wing, their first set piece in a decent position. Gross curls it onto the head of the backpedalling Dunk, whose looping header is easily held by Ederson.
41 min That was a chance for Brighton. Stephens drives an excellent angled pass over the defence for Murphy, who gets the wrong side of Walker but miscontrols the ball in the area.
38 min Brighton break four against four, but March overhits his pass and it goes out for a goalkick.
37 min Brighton aren’t camped in their own half; they’re camped in their own third.
34 min Ryan makes an excellent save from Jesus, who then hits the post with the follow-up. City played some lovely rat-a-tat passes down the right before Aguero clipped an excellent cross onto the head of the unmarked Jesus. His header was clawed away by Ryan, who had to change direction after scampering across his line, and Jesus was under pressure from Bruno when he slapped the rebound off the outside of the post.
32 min De Bruyne smacks the free-kick into the wall.
31 min Stephens takes a needless shortcut through Silva 25 yards from goal. It’s another free-kick in a good position for De Bruyne, slightly to left of centre.
30 min Brighton will be pleased with how well they have defended in the first half hour. It’s been hard work against a very good attack, yet they have restricted them to half-chances.
27 min Jesus has a goal disallowed for handball. He ran behind the defence to meet a tremendous through pass from De Bruyne a few yards from goal. As the ball bounced up Jesus tried to take it on the chest but miscontrolled it onto his hand, which then knocked the ball past Ryan. Jesus is booked, which is a bit harsh because it was completely accidental.
23 min Brown limps off, to be replaced by Jamie Murphy. The corner is half cleared to Silva, whose awkward inswinging cross skims off the head of Stephens and drifts this far wide of the post.
22 min Aguero’s cross goes behind off Dunk for a corner. Before it can be taken, Brown needs treatment for a problem with his right left. I think his game is over.
19 min Brighton’s problem is not how little they have of the ball – that was inevitable – but how little they are doing with it when they get it. They keep giving it straight back to City.
18 min City have had 77 per cent of the possession so far.
17 min … and he wobbles it straight into the welcoming embrace of the keeper Ryan.
16 min Silva is fouled by Stephens, 25 yards from goal. De Bruyne will take it…
15 min A few uneventful minutes, which is just what Brighton needed. Pep Guardiola, wearing beige slacks, has a confused look on his coupon and seems unhappy with one of his team.
14 min Silva’s outswinging corner is headed well wide by the under pressure Fernandinho.
12 min The good thing for Brighton is that Ryan hasn’t had a save to make yet, but he will soon if it carries on like this.
11 min Brighton can’t get hold of the ball. City have the full swagger on. I’ve just realised, incidentally, who Silva’s body movement reminds me of now that he has a shaved head: Freddie Ljungberg.s
8 min This is ominous for Brighton. City look extremely sharp in attack, prompted inevitably by De Bruyne. Walker and Jesus are also right on it. At times City’s formation is almost 4-0-6.
7 min Fashion watch: David Silva has had a buzzcut, and now looks like an extra from Trainspotting.
6 min Brilliant play from Jesus, who lobs the ball over Dunk’s head and scoots into the area before sidefooting a low cross that is sliced behind for a corner.
5 min From an attacking point of view, this system is perfect for City. It allows them to play two playmakers, two strikers and two de facto wingers. Defensively? We’ll see about that.
4 min Walker plays a smart one-two with De Bruyne and cuts the ball back to Aguero, who fresh-airs his attempted shot at the near post. That was a chance. The ball is recycled to Jesus, who tries to make room for a shot but is crowded out.
3 min As expected, City have started in a 3-1-4-2 formation, with Danilo and Walker very high up the pitch.
1 min Peep peep! City kick off, from right to left if you like to visualise these things in the TV style. They are in claret; Brighton are wearing blue-and-white stripes.
There is a tremendous atmosphere at the Amex Stadium, so much so that you can barely hear the BT Sport commentators. (Insert your own joke here.)
“Hey Rob,” says Pete H. “Why is B. Mendy not suited up for MCFC? Is he injured? Not match fit?”
Yeah, he has a thigh injury.
You’ve doubtless heard about Chelsea’s inventive approach to defending their title. Now you can read about it.
There are title defences. And then there are Chelsea title defences. As an exercise in exploring just how quickly a steamrollering champion team can be reduced to a frazzled, meandering rabble, Chelsea’s opening half of the season against Burnley at Stamford Bridge is likely to take some beating.
What are you doing tomorrow?
As you may know, our much-loved colleague Dan Lucas died suddenly in March at the age of 31. In south London tomorrow, there will be a cricket match in his memory, and to raise money for charity. Here are some details from his girlfriend Liz.
Dan loved his cricket – whether it be his passionate writing for the Guardian OBO, his enthusiastic commentary for Guerrilla Cricket or in his day to day encyclopaedic cricket chat with friends and family – it’s fair to say he adored the sport. The wonderful guys over at Guerrilla Cricket came up with the idea of holding a cricket match for Dan each year to remember him and his love for the game.
On August 13th 2017 we are going to hold a cricket match for Dan. The event will see two teams play against each other for 30 overs, made up of Dan’s Guerrilla colleagues, his friends, family, fellow Guardian writers and OBO readers. The event will also aim to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes research (JDRF). On the day, they’ll be an afternoon tea, BBQ, music, raffle and a quiz with some wonderful cricket and music themed prizes.”
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-1-1) Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner; March, Propper, Stephens, Brown; Gross; Hemed.
Substitutes: Maenpaa, Huenemeier, Rosenior, Sidwell, Murphy, Knockaert, Murray.
Manchester City (3-1-4-2) Ederson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, D Silva, Danilo; Jesus, Aguero.
Substitutes: Bravo, Sterling, Mangala, Sane, B Silva, Yaya Toure, Foden.
Right on! To the delight of Guardian readers everywhere, Brighton are back in the top flight for the first time since 1983. If ever there was a day for celebratory Prosecco and foie gras ramekins, this is it.
Yes, yes, enough of the clichés. Brighton & Hove Albion are a Premier League side for the first time, and today will be one big party, unless they lose 6-0. It’s a story with no side to it; a feelgood tale we can trust. The club has been through so much to get here, and they have received plenty of goodwill as a result – and also because of their manager Chris Hughton, a strong contender for the most decent man in football.