Percy Tau made his English Premier League debut for Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday night.
Graham Potter decided to give the South African his first league start in a Brighton shirt against a very strong Manchester City side who were looking to collect all three points at home.
Alongside Leandro Trossard and Alexis Mac Allister, Tau started on the right side of a three-man attack as the Seagulls hoped to cause an upset at the Etihad Stadium.
City were in firm control from the first whistle with Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Phil Folden attacking the visitors from the first whistle.
Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez stood his ground in the first half making a few brilliant saves for Brighton. De Bruyne came close to opening the scoring after being put through on goal, but Sanchez denied the Belgian from point-blank range.
With a minute left before the break, English winger Folden finally broke the deadlock for City with a well-placed shot into the near post with his weaker right foot to ensure that the hosts went into halftime with smiles on their faces.
The second half was a stalemate with Pep Guardiola’s men continuing their dominance, but failing to put the ball past Sanchez. Brighton finished the stronger of the two sides, but was not able to find an equalizer as the former English champions took maximum points.
Tau looked lively every time he got on the ball, but the visitors lacked synergy and the combination play in the final third of the pitch was not working out. The 26-year-old lasted 68 minutes before being substituted for Neal Maupay who came on for the last 22 minutes of the game. Speaking to the media after the game, Potter said he was happy with the team’s performance and seeing Tau make his debut.
“I’m so proud of the players. We struggled to create too many chances in the first half but in the second half I thought we improved and did that well,” he said.
“We were more aggressive after the break – we tried to play and also defended for our lives which you sometimes have to when you come away to the top sides. Results are hard to come by in this league and we have to make sure we keep performing with a spirit and togetherness which I thought we did this evening.
“In the end it was a good performance and I’m very happy with my players. Our season won’t be defined by matches like this but there were plenty of things that give me encouragement going forward,” he added.
Potter went on to compliment Percy Tau for an impressive debut saying he will continue to believe in him and try to help him do well. “He’s taken everything in his stride well and he’s enjoying his football. He wants to play and improve and that’s good for all of us, we’ll keep trying to help him do that,” he concluded.
RELATED ARTICLE: EPL debut looms for Tau
By Prince Sobayeni