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Brighton’s Julio Enciso scored a fantastic equaliser as the Seagulls confirmed Europa League qualification with an entertaining draw against champions Manchester City.
Phil Foden opened the scoring for Treble-chasing City, squeezing the ball beyond Brighton defender Jan Paul van Hecke on the goalline after Erling Haaland’s assist left goalkeeper Jason Steele stranded.
Brighton deservedly levelled through 19-year-old Enciso’s stunning strike, which arrowed into the top corner from 25 yards.
Haaland had a goal ruled out for a pull on his marker in 79th minute following a video assistant referee review, as Brighton held on for a draw that ends City’s 12-match winning run in the Premier League.
As for Brighton, the hard-earned point seals a top-six finish and cements a place in next season’s Europa League group stage.
‘A club on the rise’ – ‘special times’ at BrightonReaction from Brighton’s draw with Manchester City
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Brilliant Brighton secure sixthBrighton were good value for their point and on another day could have handed City their first defeat since 5 February.
Danny Welbeck struck the crossbar direct from a free-kick in the 19th minute, while Kaoru Mitoma bundled home from a corner after 31 minutes only to see his goal rightly ruled out for the ball hitting his arm.
Enciso’s leveller was brilliant. The Paraguayan midfielder capitalised on City’s defenders backing away and sweetly stuck the ball into the top-right corner to net his fourth goal since joining the Sussex club in January.
The hosts continued to push with Welbeck having a goal ruled out for offside on the stroke of half-time.And after the restart City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega did well to keep out both Mitoma and Evan Ferguson, while Pervis Estupinan fired a long-range effort narrowly wide.
Brighton’s 20 shots was the most the Citizens have faced in the league this season.
Roberto de Zerbi’s side travel to Aston Villa on the final day of the season on Sunday, safe in the knowledge they have already achieved the club’s highest ever top-flight finish.
Haaland denied as winning run stopped
City may have already wrapped up the title and have their sights set on the FA Cup and Champions League finals, but their line-up against Brighton was experienced and full of attacking talent.
Haaland could have opened the scoring in the opening moments but saw his close-range header from Foden’s cross fly over the bar.
In the second half Ilkay Gundogan dragged a shot narrowly wide from a tight angle before Haaland had a 37th Premier League goal of the season ruled out for a shirt pull.
After referee Simon Hooper consulted the VAR monitor the Norwegian was adjudged to have fouled Levi Colwill as Cole Palmer sent over a cross.
City end the campaign away to Brentford on Sunday and will finish with at least 90 points in a Premier League season for a record fourth time if they avoid defeat.
The following Saturday they face city rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final before playing Inter Milan in the Champions League final seven days later.