Review and Player Ratings as City extend unbeaten run to 25 games – Brighton 1-1 Manchester City
In the second game since they were confirmed as Premier League champions, for the third year in a row, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side played out a 1-1 draw against Brighton at the Amex, courtesy of first-half goals from Phil Foden and Julio Enciso.
Prior to the game, in his pre-match press conference, the City boss confirmed some members of the City team do have some 'niggles', with Jack Grealish, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake not travelling down to the south coast.
With a thin squad, Guardiola named the following starting XI:
Stefan Ortega, Kyle Walker, Rodri, John Stones, Rico Lewis, Ilkay Gundogan (C), Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez.
Academy stars such as Ben Knight, Alexander Robertson and Nico O'Reilly had the honour of being called up to the squad.
Following a tight opening few minutes, the Blues were unlucky to find themselves not in the lead after Foden dazzled his way through Brighton's defence before teeing up an inch-perfect cross to Haaland at the back-post. The Norweigan, however, couldn't keep his header down as he headed over from a close range.
Despite the early warning sign, the Seagulls pressed on and nearly had a goal of their own after former Man United forward Danny Welbeck struck the cross-bar from a free-kick around 25 yards from goal.
Moments later, City had a breakthrough with Riyad Mahrez playing through Haaland on goal before City's striker cooly squared the ball across to Foden, who eased the ball past the hopeless Brighton defenders for a 1-0 lead.
Inevitably, De Zerbi's side celebrated what they thought was an equaliser. Welbeck won the flick onto Pascal Gross' corner before Kaoru Mitoma bundled the ball into the net. The goal was, however, ruled out after the officials deemed the ball hit his arm.
Shortly after, the hosts did have their equaliser, and deservedly so. Chelsea loanee Levi Colwill broke City's line with a pass to Argentine forward Enciso, who let go of an absolute rocket into the top-right corner, with Ortega stranded and left with no chance. Some goal.
The Seagulls were again celebrating another goal before half-time, with Welbeck thinking he'd put his side in front - however, the linesman's flag put a premature end to that, and both sides went into the break even.
Eventually, after a quiet second half, City thought they had grabbed a winner late on through a Haaland header. However, VAR intervened and deemed the Norweigan had pulled Colwill's shirt and consequently advised Simon Hooper to check the onfield monitor, which he did, voiding the goal.
Foden was replaced on the 50th-minute mark by Cole Palmer, with Guardiola not willing to take a risk after the forward suffered a slight knock in the first half; medical staff advised the Catalan of the potential danger. Guardiola also confirmed post-match that Stones was taken off as a precaution, too.
Next up for City is a trip to Brentford to close out a triumphant Premier League season before two momentous cup finals against Man United at Wembley and Inter in Istanbul as the Blues hunt a historic treble.
Ortega - 6
Walker - 6
Stones - 6.5
Rodri - 7
Lewis - 7
Gundogan - 6.5
De Bruyne - 6
Silva - 7
Foden - 8
Haaland - 7.5
Mahrez - 7.5
Substitutes: Cole Palmer - 6.5, Julian Alvarez - 6, Kalvin Phillips - N/A, Sergio Gomez - N/A