Premier League champions Manchester City’s 12-match winning streak ended on Wednesday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by sixth-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.
Treble-chasing City, who won their fifth title in six seasons at the weekend, lacked their usual intensity, but took the lead when Phil Foden slotted home on 25 minutes.
The win meant Brighton qualified for next season’s Europa League, the club’s first venture into Europe and Ken Julio Nciso showed some lively football before equalizing for the hosts with a stunning long-range effort in the 38th minute.
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“What an achievement, what a club, what a group of lads. The unity, the culture and we’re driven by a top, top manager. Special time,” Brighton keeper Jason Steele said.
Danny Welbeck had a goal disallowed before halftime for Brighton and Erling Haaland thought he had put City ahead late on but was penalized for shirt pulling after a VAR check.
It’s the first time City have dropped points since February and they have 89 points, eight more than Arsenal, with a league game remaining at Brentford on Sunday. Brighton have 62, a total now unmatched by seventh-placed Aston Villa.
Despite another title win and FA Cup and Champions League finals to come, City manager Pep Guardiola’s appetite for victory remains undiminished.
Haaland was furious when his late goal was disallowed, earning a yellow card for his verbal volley, but the defeat will be harsh for Brighton who have enjoyed the best campaign in the club’s history.
“Fantastic game. Congratulations to Brighton for their well-deserved qualification to the Europa League,” Guardiola said. “The game we played, 48 hours after we drank all the alcohol in Manchester, we behaved 48 hours later and we showed why we were champions against that team.”
Brighton matched City throughout an entertaining contest and City had 13 of 20 goal attempts, including seven on target.
Yet even with their eyes now focused on two of the biggest games in the club’s history, City still packed quite a punch with the Haaland forward tricked out.
The Norwegian looked set to score when he went one-on-one, but was thwarted by Brighton keeper Jason Steele.
Next time he was freed by Riyad Mahrez’s pass, he went around the steel and unselfishly picked out Foden whose shot found the bottom corner.
Kaoru Mitoma canceled out an equalizer before Paraguayan teenager Nciso brought the crowd to its feet.
Picking the ball up in space about 25 meters from goal, he sent a right-footed rocket past the diving Stefan Ortega and into the top corner of the goal.
Welbeck, who had already hit the goal frame with a free kick, was then denied by a hard offside call.
Brighton had plenty of chances in the second half too but it looked as if Haaland would score his 53rd goal of the season when he headed in Cole Palmer’s cross. VAR said he clearly grabbed Levi Colwill’s shirt as the ball came over the goalmouth.
Haaland’s goal tally has slowed considerably in just one of his last six games. City fans will be hoping he saves a few more earthquake weeks with the FA Cup final kicking off on June 3 before playing in the Champions League decider a week later.