Record-breaking Manchester City cruise past Brighton
Premier League, Etihad Stadium - Manchester City 3 (Danilo 16', B. Silva 34', Fernandinho 72') Brighton 1 (Ulloa 20')
Manchester City broke the records for most points won and the most goals scored in a Premier League campaign as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Brighton 3-1.
The Citizens eclipsed Chelsea’s record goal-tally of 103, set in 2009/10, with two first-half goals from Danilo and Bernardo Silva.
Fernandinho added a third after the restart as City registered 105 for the season with one league game still remaining, while Leroy Sane became only the fourth player to register a hat-trick of assists in a league match this season.
The victory moves Guardiola’s charges onto 97 points - beating Chelsea's record of 95 set in 2004-05 - and City will be targeting a remarkable total of 100 at Southampton on Sunday.
There was a party atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium right from kick-off as Yaya Toure returned to the Man City line-up as captain on his final home game to mark the end of a hugely successful eight-year tenure at the club.
And the hosts made the perfect start with Danilo’s 16th-minute opener levelling Chelsea’s record. The raucous home supporters were silenced for the first time when Claudio Bravo’s error of judgement allowed Brighton an equaliser only four minutes later; the Chilean needlessly rushed off his line and was beaten to the ball by Davy Propper’s whose cross was headed into an empty net by Leonardo Ulloa.
City restored their advantage in the 34th-minute through Bernardo whose ninth goal of the season proved to be the record-breaker.
Brighton enjoyed their best spell after the restart, but the champions extended their lead slightly against the run of play when Fernandinho rifled in City’s third after a clever corner routine involving Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane. Chris Hughton's side, who confirmed their top-flight status with a victory over Manchester United last week, will hope to cap off a memorable season with a famous victory at Anfield on the final day.
The end of an era for Manchester City and Yaya Toure: After 315 games, 82 goals, three Premier Leagues, three League Cups and two FA Cups – the 34-year-old finally made his final appearance at the Etihad Stadium in a Man City shirt.
Pep Guardiola led the tributes to the Ivory Coast international in the match-day programme: “This is a day to say goodbye to a man who is a legend among City fans and a big part of this club’s history forever. Yaya Toure came here from Barcelona at the start of the recent journey of success. Where we are now is because of what he has done. We cannot forget that during the managership of Roberto Mancini, and especially Manuel Pellegrini, that Yaya was the key player.”
Toure received the farewell he deserved - and he looked close to tears as he was leaving the field. But was this truly his final appearance at City, or will any club be daring enough to give him one final chance in the Premier League next season?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leroy Sane (Manchester City) - On Yaya Toure's big night, the German paid tribute to the 34-year-old with one of the performances of the season. With pin-point passing, excellent vision and awareness, Sane registered three assists.
Man City: Bravo 4, Danilo 8, Kompany 6, Laporte 7, Zinchenko 6, Fernandinho 8, Toure 7, Gundogan 7, Bernardo 8, Sane 9, Jesus 5. Subs: Mendy 5, Nmecha N/A, Diaz N/A.
Brighton: Ryan 7, Bruno 6, Dunk 6, Duffy 7, Bong 6, Knockaert 6, Stephens 6, Propper 6, Izquierdo 6, Gross 6, Ulloa 7. Subs: March 5, Kayal 5, Locadia 5.
16’ – GOAL! Man City 1-0 Brighton. It's party time at the Etihad for the home side. Danilo - City's wing-back - has no right to be in this position but he keeps running and running from deep, and latches onto Sane's through-pass, finishing coolly past Ryan.
20’ - GOAL! Man City 1-1 Brighton. Brighton make a rapid response - they're level! It's poor goalkeeping from Claudio Bravo. He races off his line but is beaten to the chase by Propper and he digs out a superb cross to find Ulloa who heads into an empty net. The Chilean had absolutely no reason to race off his line and his error in judgement put City in all kinds of trouble.
34’ - GOAL! Man City 2-1 Brighton. RECORD BROKEN! Bernardo - with his ninth goal for City - restores the home side's advantage. It's their 104th goal of the season, breaking Chelsea's record of 103 set in 2009/10. Sane drives down the left and finds Bernardo with a cut-back pass. He controls to set himself up for a shot, rifling the ball past the out-stretched Ryan at his near post.
57' - MISS! Brighton should be level. Bravo doesn't cover himself in glory as he fumbles Izquierdo's tame shot. Danilo's clearance is deflected into the path of Knockaert who blazes over from a matter of yards.
72' - GOAL! Man City 3-1 Brighton. Brighton caught sleeping as City play the corner short - Gundogan finding Sane on the edge of the box. He cuts it back to Fernandinho who smashes the ball home with a powerful left-footed low drive.
85' - TOURE MAKES WAY: There is no fairytale ending for Yaya Toure as the 34-year-old bids farewell to the home supporters. Everyone inside the Etihad Stadium is on their feet as a legend of the club makes his way off the pitch. He is replaced by Lukas Nmecha.
- Man City have won 31 league games this season – the joint-most by an English top-flight team in a single campaign (also Spurs in 1960-61).
- Manchester City have won 97 points in 2017-18, the most by a Premier League team in a single season.
- Man City’s 97 points is only bettered in the English top-flight by Liverpool’s haul of 98 in 1978-79 (adjusting three points for a win).
- Leroy Sane is the fourth player to have registered a hat-trick of assists in a Premier League match this season, and third for Man City (Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Henrikh Mkhitaryan).
- Man City now hold the outright record for most goals in a single Premier League campaign - 105.
- Leonardo Ulloa scored his first league goal for Brighton since netting at Nottingham Forest in May 2014 - 1467 days ago.
Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (L) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west EngGetty Images