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2-min read

Premier League: Aymeric Laporte Injury Casts Cloud Over Manchester City Victory

Manchester City outclassed Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 but Aymeric Laporte had to be carried off the field after injuring his knee.

AFP

Updated:August 31, 2019, 10:16 PM IST
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Premier League: Aymeric Laporte Injury Casts Cloud Over Manchester City Victory
Sergio Aguero scored two goals as Manchester City beat Brighton & Hove Albion (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Manchester: A Sergio Aguero double helped Manchester City maintain an unbeaten Premier League run dating back to January, in a 4-0 victory over Brighton on Saturday.

However, City manager Pep Guardiola's satisfaction was tempered by a worrying injury to influential defender Aymeric Laporte.

City's record goalscorer Aguero was on the mark either side of half-time, to take his season's tally to six goals in four games, as his side continued their run of near total dominance over teams outside the established 'Big Six' of the Premier League.

This marked the second of nine such fixtures City face before taking on Liverpool, seen as the biggest threat to their bid for a third successive title, in November.

The potential long-term loss of Laporte, who was in obvious distress after injuring his knee, could prove significant.

City took just 69 seconds to establish their dominance with a goal that suggested Guardiola's mastery of clubs outside their five greatest rivals would continue against Brighton.

His previous 58 games against the 14 clubs who make up the 'other' teams in the top flight had seen Guardiola win 50, draw five and collect 155 points from an available 174.

When Kevin De Bruyne fired City ahead, finishing clinically from 10 yards after Oleksandr Zinchenko had sent away David Silva who pulled the ball back intelligently for the Belgian, yet another such victory seemed inevitable.

It might have been a far more comfortable afternoon for Guardiola if City had been able to convert some of their numerous first half chances into a second goal before Aguero finally added a second on 40 minutes.

Laporte suffered his knee injury after 33 minutes when the defender, whom Guardiola described as the best left-sided centre-half in Europe just this week, slid in to foul Adam Webster.

Laporte, called into Didier Deschamps squad this week and hoping to win his first cap for France, twisted his knee awkwardly in halting Webster's run and required lengthy treatment before being stretchered off and replaced by Fernandinho.

At least Guardiola had the consolation of seeing City double their lead before the half-time whistle after De Bruyne's square ball found Aguero at the end of a flowing passing move.

The Argentinian striker showed great composure in a crowded Brighton area, making space for himself before depositing an unstoppable shot past Mathew Ryan and into the roof the visitors' goal.

Albion might have pulled a goal back in the dying moments of the first half but Ederson showed speed of thought and body to race from his line, close down and block Leandro Trossard.

Fernandinho also blocked from the same Brighton man, early in the second half, as the visitors looked to reduce arrears although a masterful third City goal from Aguero on 54 minutes killed off all hope of a comeback.

Zinchenko's pass to David Silva saw the Spanish playmaker find Aguero on the edge of the Brighton area and his majestic right-foot curling shot flew into the top corner.

City's fourth, after 78 minutes, saw Aguero show his selfless side as the Argentinian found substitute Bernardo Silva in space and the Portuguese international scored from a wide angle with his first touch.

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