Manchester City player ratings v BrentfordManchester City player ratings v Brentford
Manchester City player ratings v Brentford

Man City player ratings v Brentford: Five score 7/10 as gap closed to Liverpool - gallery

Erling Haaland netted the only goal of the night as Manchester City beat Brentford.

Manchester City beat Brentford 1-0 on Tuesday night to close the gap to leaders Liverpool at the top of the table.

For long periods it was a frustrating match for City, who struggled to find a way past Brentford's well-organised set-up, but Haaland's 71st-minute strike provided a vital three points and leaves City second in the table and a point behind Liverpool.

The Bees were the last visiting side to emerge from the Etihad with a victory, when they won 2-1 in November 2022. And Brentford proved equally tricky customers 15 months on as Thomas Frank’s side defended deep - often with all 11 players camped in their final third - and looked to spring attacks on the break.

City managed 17 shots in the first period and went closest via Oscar Bobb, who saw his effort cleared off the line by Ben Mee’s recovering run. Bernardo Silva also went close on 34 minutes when he headed wide inside the box.

When the sides last met, Mark Flekken frustrated the champions with 12 saves, and that was the same once again, as he made saves to deny Haaland, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and John Stones, all of whom produced powerful strikes on target. At the other end, Frank Onyeka twice tested Ederson with chances on the break, while Ivan Toney fired just over after a flick-on from a free-kick.

But the second period was less convincing, with City controlling the pace of the game but failing to create openings. Rodri and Phil Foden’s speculative efforts from the edge of the box were as close as City got before Haaland broke the deadlock after 71 minutes. The striker latched onto Julian Alvarez’s scruffy pass and drove at goal just as Kristoffer Ajer slipped and provided Haaland with a clean run at goal. He made no mistake and powerfully placed the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Haaland looked to have netted again when he tapped in from Walker’s cutback from a couple of yards out, only for the no.9 to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag.

Foden twice went close late on in a game that looked increasingly like a training game for City, who casually stroked the ball around the red and white shirts. There had been a few groans prior to Haaland's goal, but the home faithful never had any concerns City would let this one slip.

Other than a corner in the sixth minute of injury-time Brentford offered little, as City held on for an important three points. Here's how we rated the players...

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