Almost 8000 fans returned to the Amex Stadium to see the Albion in the flesh once again, and they were treated to an absolute thriller against the Premier League champions.
A red card, two fine individual goals from Leandro Trossard and Phil Foden, a rare Dan Burn strike and a first ever Amex goal for Adam Webster, made for a scintillating evening that took the Seagulls to a record-equalling 41 points.
Prior to kick-off, City were afforded a guard of honour in recognition of their title success and it took them less than two minutes to show just why they are champions; Foden broke forward with purpose, Riyad Mahrez pulled out his usual trickery on the right flank, and his tantalising cross was headed home at the far post by Ilkay Gundogan.
Danny Welbeck, with two goals from his last three games for the Albion, was looking lively; he had already tested the City rearguard, lifting an effort over the advancing Ederson, then with ten minutes on the clock, found himself in a footrace with Joao Cancelo, who had failed to cut out a cross-field pass. There was a tangle just outside the box, the Albion forward was sent crashing to the ground and a red card was shown by referee Stuart Attwell – a decision backed up by VAR.
The visitors responded well; Mahrez has a shot deflected wide, while Ben White also did well to cut out a Foden effort. Welbeck, sadly, left the field after 26 minutes with an injury – his place taken by Trossard, fresh from his call-up to the Belgium Euro 2020 squad.
Albion then missed a good opportunity to get back on level terms when Jakub Moder embarked on an excellent run down the left flank. He reached the byline, invitingly cut the ball back, but an unmarked Pascal Gross got his feet tangled up as he shaped to shoot.
The hosts continued to crank up the pressure, with a Gross corner creating panic in the City box shortly before half-time, but it was the visitors who doubled their lead through a superb Foden goal shortly after the break.
Having won the ball inside his own half, the young England star then accelerated past White, with his pace taking him as far as the Albion box. He then looked up to pass but instead drove a low effort beyond Robert Sanchez – a goal that earned ripples of applause from the Seagulls faithful.
Yet Albion got back in the game just two minutes later with wonderful goal of their own; Trossard picked the ball up just inside the City half, drove forward and looked set to shoot on at least three occasions. As a result, he took four defenders out of the firing line before eventually pulling the trigger for his fifth goal of the season.
It was a real shot in the arm for the Albion, who continued to play on the front foot. White had a fearsome effort blocked by Oleksandr Zinchenkoand a number of balls were fizzed across the face of City’s goal as the search for an equaliser continued.
It duly arrived in the 72nd minute when Webster rose to powerfully head home his first goal since last season’s defeat at Tottenham.
But the drama didn’t end there; just four minutes later, fellow defender Burn latched onto a ball from Alexis Mac Allister. His first effort was saved by Ederson, but he made no mistake with the rebound, netting with his unfancied right foot for a first goal in three years.
It was Albion’s first top-flight win against City in 40 years and they couldn’t have signed off from their Amex season in a better fashion.
Albion: Sanchez, White, Webster, Burn, Jahanbakhsh (Lallana 49), Gross, Bissouma, Alzate (Zeqiri 65), Mac Allister, Welbeck (Trossard 29).
Subs not used: Karbownik, Connolly, Tau, Steele, Caicedo, Walton.