Encisco stunner earns Seagulls EPL draw with Man City

·3-min read

Julio Enciso's stunning leveller has cemented Brighton & Hove Albion's place in next season's Europa League as Manchester City's Premier League winning run was halted at 12 games by a thrilling 1-1 draw.

The 19-year-old Paraguay forward unleashed a thunderous, swerving effort into the top right corner from 25 yards seven minutes before the break to mathematically guarantee Albion a sixth-placed finish.

"It's a fantastic goal, we achieved an incredible target," Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi said.

"I am really proud because I think today has been one of the best games in this season.

"Man City is the best team in the world. For us it was a very tough game. We deserve the point. We deserve the Europa League."

Phil Foden put the newly-crowned champions ahead at the Amex Stadium with his fifth goal in as many starts against the Seagulls.

Pep Guardiola saw his formidable side drop points for the first time since February 18 after Erling Haaland's 79th-minute header was disallowed due to VAR spotting a shirt pull on Levi Colwill.

Treble-chasing City were given a guard of honour by their hosts, four days on from securing their fifth title success in six seasons thanks to second-placed Arsenal's defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Haaland - seeking to add to his 36 top-flight goals - should have put City ahead inside six minutes but wastefully headed over.

The visitors were fortunate to survive in the 20th minute when former Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck's thumping free kick cannoned back off the bar. Brighton also had a goal disallowed for offside in addition to a Kaoru Mitoma effort being chalked off for handball.

Haaland then overran the ball and saw it smothered by goalkeeper Jason Steele before making amends by assisting the 25th-minute opener.

Riyad Mahrez's superb through ball split Albion's defence and Haaland raced clear to draw Steele and square for Foden, who slotted home.

Facundo Buonanotte stung the palms of Stefan Ortega before the eye-catching equaliser arrived.

Enciso collected the ball midway inside opposition territory and advanced to spectacularly lash high into the net from distance, prompting applause from City fans behind the goal.

Foden headed a Kevin De Bruyne cross narrowly over at the end of a breathless first half, while after the break Ilkay Gundogan flashed wide and Cole Palmer tested Steele. Pervis Estupinan's powerful drive flew marginally wide of the left post at the other end.

"I was a little bit worried about how much we would drop our (level) with what we had done the last four, five, six months," Guardiola said.

"Forty hours (ago) we drank all the alcohol in Manchester and the way they played was outstanding.

"They are a fantastic team in all departments, that's why they are in the Europa League, well deserved.

"And also we showed why we are the best team in England."

With AP.