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Julio Enciso scores a wonder as Brighton holds Manchester City

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Brighton 1-1 Manchester City Premier League Julio Enciso goal
Brighton midfielder Julio Enciso celebrates a goal in the match against Manchester City. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Manchester City visited Brighton in a Premier League clash on Wednesday evening
  • City had already been crowned the 2023 Premier League champions and were just playing for pride
  • City went ahead but Julio Enciso scored a stunner to level the match at the Amex Stadium

Brighton secured their place in next season’s Europa League with a thrilling 1-1 draw against Premier League champions Manchester City, as Julio Enciso’s stunning equalizer in the first half sealed their sixth-place finish.

The 19-year-old Paraguayan forward unleashed a powerful and swerving shot from 25 yards out, finding the top right corner of the net seven minutes before halftime. This remarkable goal mathematically guaranteed Brighton’s spot in the Europa League.

Manchester City took the lead at the Amex Stadium through Phil Foden, who scored his fifth goal in as many matches against Brighton. However, despite fielding a strong lineup, City dropped points for the first time since February 18. Erling Haaland’s 79th-minute header, which initially appeared to give City the victory, was disallowed due to a shirt pull on Levi Colwill, as spotted by VAR.

City manager Pep Guardiola expressed his frustration with the decision and was shown a yellow card by referee Simon Hooper for his continuous protests. Haaland had missed two good opportunities in the first half, while Brighton’s Danny Welbeck hit the crossbar from a free-kick and had a goal disallowed for offside. Additionally, Kaoru Mitoma’s effort was ruled out for handball.

READ: How Manchester City won the Premier League title

The thrilling encounter served as Brighton’s final home game of a remarkable season and eliminated any remote possibility of them falling into the Europa Conference League on the last day against Aston Villa, who finished seventh.

Brighton 1-1 Manchester City - Premier League - Julio Enciso

Brighton midfielder Julio Enciso celebrates after scoring the leveler against Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Wednesday, May 24 2023. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |

Prior to the match, City received a guard of honour from their hosts in recognition of their fifth Premier League title in six seasons, which they secured after Arsenal’s defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Guardiola made six changes to the team that celebrated the title with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea. Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne returned to the starting lineup, while Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, who had received an England call-up, began the game on the bench due to calf and back issues.

City had an early chance to take the lead when Haaland headed over from Foden’s delivery. They also struggled with risky passes from the back, but Brighton couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities. However, Haaland made amends by assisting Foden’s goal in the 25th minute, as Riyad Mahrez’s precise through ball split Brighton’s defence.

Despite lifting the Premier League trophy, Brighton entered the match with a jubilant atmosphere after securing European football for the first time by defeating Southampton 3-1.

READ: Premier League: City are the Champions, Brighton secure Europe

The equalizer arrived in spectacular fashion when Enciso received the ball from Colwill and unleashed a powerful shot from a distance that found the back of the net, earning applause even from the City fans behind the goal.

Welbeck had a well-taken finish disallowed for offside, and Foden narrowly missed a header from De Bruyne’s cross at the end of an action-packed first half.

The second half continued in a frantic and end-to-end manner, although chances were scarce. Ilkay Gundogan and Cole Palmer tested Brighton goalkeeper, Jason Steele, while Pervis Estupinan’s powerful shot narrowly missed the target.

City thought they had secured victory when Haaland headed in a cross from substitute Palmer in the 79th minute. However, to Guardiola’s visible frustration, the goal was overturned following advice from Stockley Park.

City’s Premier League campaign will conclude with a match against Brentford, followed by an FA Cup final against Manchester United and a Champions League showdown with Inter Milan in Istanbul, as they continue their pursuit of a treble.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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