Brighton draw 1-1 with Man City to secure Europa qualification
BRIGHTON, England (AP):
Julio Enciso's stunning long-range strike secured Brighton's qualification for the Europa League in a 1-1 English Premier League (EPL) draw with Manchester City yesterday.
The Paraguay international unleashed an unstoppable effort from around 25 metres to even the score after Phil Foden had fired champions City ahead at Amex Stadium.
A point means Brighton is guaranteed to finish sixth, their highest-ever final position in English football's top flight.
It marks an outstanding first season for manager Roberto de Zerbi, who only took over from Graham Potter in September after the former Brighton boss left for Chelsea.
They faced an uncertain future at the time but have flourished under the Italian, who also led them to the semifinals of the FA Cup this season.
Sixth place beats Brighton's previous highest finish of ninth, which they achieved under Potter last year.
The draw ended City's 12-game winning streak in the league, which had seen them overhaul long-time leader Arsenal at the top and win a fifth title in six years.
With a third league championship already wrapped up, City had little to play for other than improving their points total.
Having rested several of his star players against Chelsea on Sunday, Pep Guardiola recalled Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne to his starting line-up, with John Stones, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva also back.
Haaland twice had chances to open the scoring before turning provider for Foden to put City ahead in the 25th minute.
Danny Welbeck had hit the crossbar with a free kick at the other end.
The equaliser came from Enciso, and it was a strike worthy of sending Brighton to the heights of the Europa League as he launched a right-footed shot into the top corner in the 38th.
Haaland thought he had scored his 53rd goal of the season with a late header. He was adjudged to have pulled Levi Colwill's shirt beforehand and was ruled out by VAR.