Manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must improve for the Champions League final after Brighton came back to beat his 10-man side at Amex Stadium.

19-05-2021

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New Premier League champions City, who face Chelsea in the European showpiece on 29 May, blew a two-goal advantage to lose 3-2 on a raucous evening on England's south coast, played out in front of 7,495 fans.

Ilkay Gundogan silenced the supporters with a second-minute opener, but City were a man down after nine minutes, when Joao Cancelo was judged to have brought down Danny Welbeck, who was goal side of the defender.

Phil Foden's superb solo effort put the visitors 2-0 up - but Leandro Trossard gave Brighton hope with a cool close-range finish, and the home side then put intense pressure on the champions' goal.

Adam Webster levelled, rising highest in the box to head home Pascal Gross's delivery and then, with 14 minutes left, Dan Burn sent the fans into raptures with the winner, following up his own blocked shot to steer the rebound into the corner of the net.

"Eleven against 11 against Brighton is tough, 11 against 10 is difficult so we have to improve for the final," said Guardiola.

"Unfortunately after 0-2, we conceded a goal so quick and after they push a lot, we were more tired and could not keep the ball as much as possible - we could not do it and unfortunately we lost the game.

"On Sunday, with our people, we are going to lift the [Premier League] trophy. And after we are going to go for the final of the Champions League.

"I am concerned because this is the final of the Champions League, because the opponent is so tough."

City also lost Gundogan to injury in the second half, but Guardiola provided positive news about the midfielder after the game.

"We are going to check tomorrow," said the manager of the German, who had earlier scored his 17th goal of the season.

"The doctor is quite optimistic. The problem is a kick and he was running in the second half with disruption and I didn't want to take a risk."

Albion give their fans something to cheer

Brighton were already safe from the drop, but have now moved to 41 points and up to 15th in the Premier League table. They also have a first win over City since April 1989.

The game was the perfect way for Albion to sign off their home season, with a performance somewhat aided by having a man advantage for 81 minutes but also entirely in keeping with the positive ethos of manager Graham Potter.

After Foden had added to Gundogan's opener early in the second half, it looked as though Brighton were heading for a frustrating defeat characterised by missed opportunities.

Welbeck had chipped a shot over Ederson side and wide before Pascal Gross fluffed a close-range shot following a pull-back.

But their response to Foden's goal was timely and crucial, with Trossard finally finding the patience, skill and efficiency to evade a series of challenges in the box and fire in.

The crowd lifted, it provided a surge of belief through the home players, which they rode to victory. In a period of sustained pressure, the excellent Ben White saw two long-range efforts blocked.

They were not to be denied, as Webster struck with his header before Burn hammered home at the second attempt, choosing the best possible moment to score his first goal for the club.

The cheer at full-time was more representative of a full house than just under 7,500 - and spoke of a unified approval of a job well done and a joy at what live football can provide.

"It was an emotional feeling in the stadium and I thought the players gave a top performance which the crowd appreciated." Potter said. "The supporters were fantastic and it was a great game.

"Obviously we benefited when they went down to 10 men so early, but we still had to play well and with the personality that we did.

"We have improved and we have a young team that can get better and better.

"I am really pleased for the players. They have had a tough year, they have stuck at it and it's nice to enjoy a fantastic victory with our supporters and get to 41 points."

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Of the Founder

Fashola Kanmi

Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
African Connection Newspaper Inc.

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