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Man City 3 Brighton 1: Erling Haaland scores twice to take Prem tally to 17 as Guardiola’s side put pressure on Arsenal

ERLING HAALAND’S agent may have a point after all. Sooner rather than later, as well.

When Rafa Pimenta claimed Haaland could easily become the world’s first £1billion player, many laughed it off as simply talking up his client.

Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland secured victory for Manchester City against Brighton
Haaland was leaping for joy after Premier League goals No16 and No17

Well if any of them witnessed the latest devastation from the Nordic force of nature – calling him merely human somehow does him a disservice – they may care to think again.

Two more goals for Haaland made it 12 in five home league games, and 17 Premier League strikes in all.

More pointedly, just six less than it took Mo Salah and Son Heung-Min to share the Golden Boot last season. In only his 12th Prem appearance for the club.

In fact the more you consider those figures, perhaps lawyer Pimenta actually underplayed how much the giant striker will one day command.

Not too many in Brighton shirts would argue. Not after the way they were bouncing off him at the Etihad.

Although in truth, after 205 minutes without a goal – a positive drought for a club with City’s firepower – someone was going to cop it soon.

So when the dam burst it was no great shock – any more than the man who got it. Although the provider most definitely was.

Keeper Ederson didn’t just clear his lines when he went long from his own penalty spot, he picked an inch-perfect pass on 22 minutes.

The Brazilian’s ball drifted over Lewis Dunk and Haaland was off like a galloping rhino, nodding the ball past Robert Sanchez as the keeper hared from his area.

Last man Adam Webster came steaming across, and was indeed decked when he collided with the City striker, before he rolled it into the empty net.

But VAR checks ruled – correctly – that it was six of one and all that. Goal given, and rightly so.

It was the second time video official Lee Mason had a say on things, denying City a spot kick a minute earlier when Haaland tumbled in Sanchez’s challenge. Nor was it the last.

When Bernardo Silva went spinning over Dunk’s outstretched leg just before the half hour, play continued for nearly two minutes.

To be honest, City were hardly stampeding towards Craig Pawson and few inside the Etihad thought much of it.

Bernardo aside, that is. Although given the Portuguese winger would be ready to fight the world if a throw-in goes the wrong way, again no-one thought too much of it.

Yet suddenly referee Pawson got the call to stop the action and check out the incident himself. Everyone knew the outcome after that.

Asking an official to review his decision when the ball is out of play is one thing. Actually stopping it to do so is effectively telling him “you’ve got it wrong.”

And in truth, it was hard – even after forensic checks – to say he had. Yes, there was contact, but stemming from Silva leaving his leg to ensure it. Dunk’s foot was already planted.

Haaland got the party started after knocking Adam Webster to the turf
City got a penalty when Bernardo Silva went over Lewis Dunk’s leg
He smashed his penalty past Robert Sanchez for 2-0
Leandro Trossard pulled one back by beating Ederson at his near post
Kevin De Bruyne scored the pick of the bunch to round off the win

No matter, penalty given and with Haaland picking up the ball, no doubting where it was going to end up.

If Sanchez moved before it hit the back of the net, he did so only marginally. Probably as well he didn’t get his fingertips to it, either, or he may well have lost a couple.

And talking of getting a hand to the ball, Ederson should have done so much better when Leandro Trossard handed Brighton an unlikely lifeline seven minutes after the break.

True, Trossard’s angled 20-yard drive carried plenty of venom, yet should never have beaten the keeper at his near post – especially as it actually went in off the bottom of his hand.

Ederson redeemed himself 20 minutes later when he blocked from a rampaging Trossard, as suddenly were a side with a dose of the jitters.

When you’re suffering from that, what’s really needed is a cool, calm and clinical head to steady those nerves once again. And in Kevin De Bruyne they have just the man.

Bernardo rolled a square ball from the left and it was a case of steady, aim and fire from the Belgian, who whipped a magical drive into the top corner.

Here’s how the action unfolded…

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