Manchester City ease past Brentford to stretch Premier League lead

Mahrez rewarded City for a dominant first half with a 40th-minute penalty before De Bruyne sealed a comfortable 2-0 win.
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring from the spot (Martin Rickett/PA)

Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring from the spot (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Andy Hampson, PA

Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne were on target as Manchester City saw off Brentford to move 12 points clear at the Premier League summit.

Mahrez rewarded City for a dominant first half with a 40th-minute penalty before De Bruyne sealed a comfortable 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium after a Brentford error in the second half.

City’s victory was their first in the competition for almost a month – although they played only one other fixture in that time – but put the pressure back on second-placed Liverpool ahead of their outing on Thursday.

Brentford’s loss was their fifth in succession as their recent slump, after a bright opening to the campaign, continues.

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Their manager Thomas Frank will have been pleased with the discipline shown for large spells but ultimately, although City controlled the contest in almost all aspects, their own mistakes cost them.

The hosts needed to be patient as Brentford sat deep to frustrate them from the outset.

Phil Foden headed an early chance wide but it was not until towards the end of first half that the champions began to make the most of their considerable possession.

Mahrez created an opening just before the half-hour when he delivered a low cross into the box but goalkeeper David Raya just beat Raheem Sterling to the ball. Joao Cancelo charged in to meet the rebound but blasted over.

Sterling then volleyed over on the turn from a Foden ball and Aymeric Laporte showed a good touch before sidefooting narrowly wide.

Kevin De Bruyne (centre) sealed the win (Martin Rickett/PA)

Kevin De Bruyne (centre) sealed the win (Martin Rickett/PA)

The breakthrough eventually came as Sterling burst into the area and was clumsily brought down by Mads Roerslev.

Mahrez, who converted from the spot in Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Fulham, did so again.

Brentford had offered little up until this point aside from a dipping shot from Mathias Jensen, and even then the offside flag was raised as Ederson palmed over.

Yet they were almost gifted a way back into the game when John Stones, starting at right-back as Kyle Walker was rested, slipped to let in Rico Henry.

The left-back played a one-two with Saman Ghoddos but then scuffed hit shot and Ederson, although he collided with two players in the process, claimed.

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City looked to put the result beyond doubt early in the second half as Cancelo sent a sweet shot just over and Bernardo Silva tested Raya from distance.

Brentford rallied and Roerslev fired a dangerous ball into the box but Onyeka was unable to control and Ederson gathered. Onyeka also threatened on a break from halfway but City retreated in numbers and De Bruyne got back to clear.

Yet just as soon as the visitors began to sense they still had a chance, they gave another goal away in the 69th minute.

Raya exchanged passes with his defenders and then carelessly kicked straight to Sterling. He recovered to beat away the England forward’s instant shot but De Bruyne pounced on the rebound to double City’s lead.

That deflated Brentford and Rodri went close to adding another for City when he caught a bouncing ball on the half-volley and forced a good save from Raya.


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