Men's Team

Akanji: We trained for Haaland’s Brighton opener

Manuel Akanji has revealed City’s opener in the 3-1 victory over Brighton was a product of our detailed pre-match preparation.

And the defender has praised Erling Haaland for adding another dimension to City’s attacking play.

After an even start to Saturday’s match at the Etihad Stadium, the Norway international opened the scoring in slightly different fashion to what our fans have come accustomed to.

Although we've earned praise thanks to Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing style of play, we made the most of going route one against the Seagulls.

Ederson delivered an inch-perfect pass towards the 22-year-old, who fended off challenges from Robert Sanchez and Adam Webster to roll the ball into an empty net.

Indeed, it was a moment of brilliance from City’s goalkeeper and striker, but also one expertly crafted on the training pitch by the Boss and his coaching staff.

“We saw it in the video that they play one v one at the back, so everybody knows that it is never easy to go one v one against Erling Haaland,” Akanji said.

“We trained for that and Eddy played a perfect ball to Erling and he was able to run through and score the goal. It is something we have got to use when we have a player and a goalkeeper like this.”

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Brighton are still searching for their first win since Graham Potter's departure to become Chelsea boss but, under his replacement De Zerbi, they have put in several impressive performances"

Before the match, Guardiola predicted the Italian will have a massive impact on English football.

And Akanji was full of praise for the Seagulls at full-time.

He continued: “I think everybody knows by now what sort of team Brighton is. They like to play with the ball and they are not scared of big teams.

“They always try to play their game and we knew that. We also knew there would be sometimes where they will have the ball and we will have to sit in and maybe counter-attack.

“We kept a calm head and took our chance with a third goal.

“They tried something and they had to do something because they were down two goals and then they scored one.

“I still think we defended well because when we conceded they came into our half more.

“I think we did well in the second half and then Kevin scored a great goal to make it 3-1. We are happy we got the three points.”

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