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The Media Review: Manchester City

The papers were full of praise for Albion players and supporters alike in their reports of last night's 3-2 win over Manchester City.

By Nick Szczepanik • 19 May 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez denied Phil Foden in smart fashion late on.

Perhaps it was Duncan Wright of the Sun who best summed up the events of Tuesday evening at the Amex. He wrote, “The fans got the game they deserved on their big return as Brighton side served up a brilliant comeback in a five-goal thriller to beat the champions.

“Who could have predicted one of the worst goalscoring teams in the top flight would suddenly find their shooting boots to deliver a treat to the delirious fans in the Amex?

“But while the supporters were treated to a barmy feast of football, Pep Guardiola will spend the next few days fearing the lasting effects of the trip to West (sic) Sussex might be more than just the blow to morale of a defeat.

“Reduced to ten men, given a chasing and losing Ilkay Gundogan injured was never in the script for the champions.”

But almost every paper rose to what turned out to be a memorable occasion. In The Guardian, Nick Ames noted that, “having taken so long to get here, nobody wanted to leave. Brighton’s players and staff lapped the pitch long after full-time, grins wider than their faces, and soaked up the joy of a crowd whose exhortations had palpably been laden with extra passion and meaning throughout.

23:48

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Extended PL Highlights: Albion 3 Man City 2

“This was a night that lifted the soul and stirred the heart; goodness knows there have been few of them over the past year but the home team and returning fanbase raised one another to create an occasion whose mark on this stadium’s history will be indelible.

“In football terms this was a dead rubber but the atmosphere resembled that of a knife-edge affair, a play-off match perhaps. It survived disappointments like a goal from Ilkay Gündogan when the game had barely kicked off, and temporarily lapsed into polite applause when Phil Foden scored a magical solo effort to put Manchester City two ahead and seemingly guarantee the champions three points.

“But Brighton, a man up from Joao Cancelo's 10th-minute dismissal, kept coming and turned the scoreline around to create a din befitting an audience many times bigger than the 7,945 present.

“Their efforts were crowned by a winner from the least predictable of sources. Dan Burn had not scored in 68 games for Brighton but, by the time Leandro Trossard slipped him through inside the box, they had levelled things up and anything seemed possible. The centre-back in Burn reared its head as he almost lost his footing before seeing Ederson save his first effort; he was sharp enough to squeeze in the rebound, though, and it was bedlam in the stands.”

Jim White also captured the mood in the Daily Telegraph. “What a game this was,” he wrote. “As Brighton came back from two goals down to defeat the champions, what a way to welcome back the crowds. The roar that greeted the final whistle was something even Pep Guardiola, a man who enjoys losing a football match about as much as he does root canal work, could appreciate.

01:16

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Potter: An Amazing Night

“7.945 had managed to secure a seat here, dotted, at suitable social distance, all round the Amex Stadium. It meant the players emerged to a sound they hadn’t heard for a while: a surge of anticipation, saved up for six months since paying customers were last allowed in.”

His description of the second and third goals bears repeating too. “Then came jubilation. Adam Webster headed home Pascal Gross’s cross and ran along the touchline blowing kisses into the ecstatic crowd. This was what they had come for. And, gloriously, it wasn’t over. Dan Burn rumbled into the area and, despite falling over as he shot, somehow managed to send the rebound beyond Ederson while lying on the turf. It was his first goal for the club. City tried to come back, Sanchez was required to make a spectacular double save to keep out Foden. But in the end the sound filling the stadium was one of unexpected delight.

“One thing was clear, as they applauded their team’s lap of honour at the end, they have a lot to look forward to at Brighton. If Potter can get Tariq Lamptey fit, keep Bissouma and sign a proven goalscorer, they will be watching football in this division for a while yet.”

James Gheerbrandt of The Times also enjoyed “a rip-roaring game, enlivened by an early red card for João Cancelo, graced by a goal of rare magic from Phil Foden, and animated by the Brighton fans, who gave their team life and belief when Foden’s goal had knocked the stuffing out of them.

“Neither side could climb or fall in the table based on this result, yet the match felt like a wild and volatile thing. Brighton played with an impressive intensity, exploiting their numerical advantage mercilessly and eventually discovering fissures in City’s undermanned defence.

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Extended PL Highlights: Albion 3 Man City 2

“So rough and raw was this contest that there was even a heated discussion at full-time between Pep Guardiola and the man he called the best English manager, Graham Potter, leaving their bromance on ice.”

And the quality intros kept coming. The i paper reported that “Brighton formed a guard of honour to clap champions Manchester City onto the Amex Stadium pitch yesterday evening, but at the final whistle all the applause from almost 8,000 disbelieving fans was for the Seagulls.

“Trossard was gifted the chance to pull one back, collecting Rodri’s blind backpass and skipping past three City defenders before hitting his shot past Ederson. Brighton scented blood and after 72 minutes acting captain Webster headed his first goal of the season from a cross by Gross. Pandemonium around the Amex became delirium four minutes later as Burn scooped home his first goal for the club at the second attempt.”

02:10

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Webster hails special night

Riath Al-Samarrai of the Daily Mail also relished the second-half goals. “Trossard hit back with a lovely run and finish that flustered half of the City defence and left Ruben Dias on his backside, before City lost Gundogan to a sore knee. Guardiola confirmed his withdrawal was only precautionary.

“From there, Webster got behind Fernandinho to head the equaliser from a Gross cross and the place went berserk minutes later when Dan Burn beat Ederson at the second attempt.”

For so long, writers have praised the controlled football of Graham Potter's Albion side. Last night it they were deploying words such as berserk, barmy, delirium and Bedlam. The evening was all that and more. But wasn’t it good to be back?

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