Julio Enciso hammered in a goal-of-the-season contender as brilliant Brighton pegged back champions Manchester City to draw 1-1 and secure qualification for the Europa League for the first time in their history.
The 19-year-old scored a long-range stunner in his side’s win at Chelsea last month and this one was similar but perhaps even better, with his ferocious strike bending the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
Erling Haaland, who served Phil Foden’s 25th-minute opener on a plate, thought he had won it for City with just over 10 minutes to play when he put a string of missed chances behind him to head in at the back post. But when VAR advised referee Simon Hooper to check the pitchside monitor, he saw a shirt-pull on Levi Colwill had aided the Norway striker and the goal was ruled out, to Pep Guardiola’s anger.
It would have been harsh on a Brighton team who had seen two goals of their own rightly ruled out and Danny Welbeck hit the bar during an enthralling contest. Roberto De Zerbi’s side fired off a staggering 20 shots against the best team in England.
No opponent had managed more than 13 against City in the Premier League before Wednesday. Only two sides have ever hit more against a side managed by Guardiola.
With the point, they ended Man City’s run of 12 straight Premier League wins – although the visitors, who celebrated their title win with a party on Sunday night, have the FA Cup and Champions League finals on their mind. They are now eight points clear of their nearest challengers Arsenal.
Brighton gave Manchester City a guard of honour before kick-off and seemed to pay their visitors too much respect in the opening moments, with Guardiola’s side recording almost 85 per cent possession in an opening 15 minutes which saw Haaland spurn a glorious chance from Foden’s cross
Brighton had lost 10 of their previous 11 Premier League games against Man City – but this is a very different Brighton team now under De Zerbi. The connection between him, his players and the crowd was plain to see as they celebrated their best season at the final whistle.