Manchester City 1-2 Brentford: Dramatic Toney double downs below-par champions

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Ivan Toney responded to missing out on England's World Cup squad by firing Brentford to a stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the champions from going top of the Premier League.

Brentford went ahead after 16 minutes when Toney headed beyond Ederson, but City levelled through Phil Foden's brilliant half-volley after a long spell of pressure.

However, Pep Guardiola's men struggled to break down the stubborn Bees in a stop-start second half, and Toney finished off a fine Brentford break by tapping in a dramatic winner eight minutes into stoppage time.

The result saw City sign off for the World Cup break in frustrating fashion, leaving them two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the Gunners' trip to Wolves later on Saturday.

City were indebted to Ederson for making two fine saves to deny Bryan Mbeumo and Toney early on, but Brentford took a surprise lead at the third attempt.

David Raya launched a deep free-kick towards the City area, where Ben Mee's flick-on was nodded home by Toney, stunning the Etihad into silence.

City then had four penalty appeals rejected in quick succession as Brentford were pinned back, and the champions equalised on the stroke of half-time as Foden hammered a left-footed effort into the top-right corner after Manuel Akanji had teed him up, giving Raya no chance.

Zanka almost put through his own net when he diverted Joao Cancelo's effort wide after the break, before Ilkay Gundogan fired over following a flowing move involving Erling Haaland.

With City throwing men forward in search of a winner, there was to be one final twist as substitute Josh Dasilva broke clear to set up Toney, who converted into an empty net to spark wild scenes among the travelling fans.

What does it mean? City lose ground in title race

With Arsenal visiting Wolves in Saturday's late kick-off, Guardiola's team had the opportunity to reclaim top spot in the Premier League table.

Ahead of their meeting with Brentford, City had won 11 consecutive home Premier League games, scoring two or more goals in 15 successive league outings at the Etihad.

However, Brentford produced a fine rearguard action to limit the champions to just six attempts on target before stunning them at the last, claiming their first league win at City since Christmas Day 1937.

Toney makes a statement

Toney's fine form this season meant many onlookers were surprised to see him miss out when England named their World Cup squad this week, but the Brentford striker could hardly have issued a better response to Gareth Southgate's snub.

He has now scored two or more goals on three occasions in the Premier League this season (against Leeds United, Brighton and Hove Albion, and City).

Only Haaland, who had a rare outing without a goal here, has done so in more matches (five).

Solid Bees prosper

Thomas Frank has earned plaudits for instilling a sense of defensive solidity at Brentford, and his team have still never lost a Premier League game when scoring first, posting 13 wins and three draws from the 16 matches in which they have drawn first blood.

The visitors' outstanding defensive work was summed up by the struggles of Haaland. The prolific Norwegian only managed one shot all game, with that single chance being worth a measly 0.03 expected goals (xG).

Key Opta Stats:

- This result ended City's run of 20 games unbeaten at home in all competitions (winning each of the last 16), with this their first defeat on home soil since February (a 3-2 win for Tottenham).
- Toney's goal for Brentford at 97:16 was the latest winning goal scored against City in the Premier League since exact goal times are available (2006-07) and the third-latest winning goal overall in the competition since then.
- City had 29 shots in this match, their most in a Premier League home game they failed to win since April 2021 – a 2-1 home defeat to Leeds in which they conceded a 90th-minute winner.
- Foden has scored six home goals in all competitions this season, his joint-best return in a single campaign. Indeed, 75 per cent of his goals have come at the Etihad this season (6/8), compared to 43% last season (6/14).
- Toney scored his 21st and 22nd Premier League goals, more than double the amount of any other Brentford player (Yoane Wissa, 10).

What's next?

City will host Liverpool in the fourth round of the EFL Cup in the week following the World Cup final on December 18, while Brentford are not in action until they host Tottenham in the Premier League on December 26.