Brighton and Hove Albion played the role of giant slayers as they held Premier League champions Manchester City to a thrilling 1-1 draw, bringing an end to City's impressive 12-match winning streak.
City, who recently secured their fifth Premier League title in six seasons, appeared slightly fatigued and failed to maintain their usual intensity throughout the game. Nevertheless, they managed to take the lead in the 25th minute when the talented Phil Foden calmly slotted the ball into the net.
Brighton, who have secured European qualification for the first time in their history, showcased their vibrant style of play and demonstrated why they deserve their place in the Europa League. Their persistence paid off in the 38th minute when Colombian midfielder Enciso unleashed a powerful long-range shot that found the top corner of the net, levelling the score and igniting the home crowd.
The match continued to deliver thrilling moments as Danny Welbeck saw a goal disallowed just before halftime due to an offside ruling. Later in the game, Erling Haaland, City's formidable striker, thought he had secured victory with a late goal, only for it to be disallowed by VAR due to a shirt-pulling incident.
For Manchester City, it was the first time since February that they dropped points in a Premier League match. With just one league game remaining against Brentford on Sunday, City currently sit comfortably atop the table with 89 points, eight points clear of second-placed Arsenal. Brighton, on the other hand, has amassed 62 points and secured seventh place, a total that Aston Villa can no longer match.
Despite already clinching the league title and with upcoming FA Cup and Champions League finals, City's manager, Pep Guardiola, remained fiercely competitive. Guardiola's frustration with Haaland's disallowed goal led to a yellow card for his animated reaction on the sidelines.
Guardiola acknowledged Brighton's outstanding performance, saying, "Exceptional game. Congratulations to Brighton for their deserved qualification to the Europa League. The game we played, 48 hours after we drank all the alcohol in Manchester, 48 hours later we behaved, and we showed why we were the champions against that team."
The match showcased Brighton's impressive campaign, marking the most successful season in the club's history. Both teams provided an exhilarating contest, with Brighton registering 20 goal attempts compared to City's 13, seven of which were on target.
Looking ahead, Manchester City is focused on their upcoming FA Cup and Champions League finals. Despite the looming fixtures, City's attack, led by Haaland, remained potent throughout the match. Haaland had opportunities to score but was denied by Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele on two occasions.