What a game this was. As Brighton came back from two goals down to defeat the champions, what a way to welcome back the crowds. The roar that greeted the final whistle was something even Pep Guardiola, a man who enjoys losing a football match about as much as he does root canal work, could appreciate. “I’m so happy for the fans here in Brighton,” the Manchester City manager said. “In six days we are going to lift the trophy with our own fans. That will be special.” 7.945 had managed to secure a seat here, dotted, at suitable social distance, all round the Amex Stadium. It meant the players emerged to a sound they hadn’t heard for a while: a surge of anticipation, saved up for six months since paying customers were last allowed in. Brighton marked the moment by forming a guard of honour for their visitors, certain in the knowledge that they would be entertaining them next season after already securing their fifth successive term in the Premier League. But within two minutes came reminder that though they will be hosting City again the chance of ever catching them is distant. It was not the most sophisticated goal of Guardiola’s tenure, Ilkay Gundogan bundling the ball in from Riyad Mahrez’s cross. But it was testament to the tenacity he has instilled in his side. Three minutes later, Danny Welbeck almost chipped Brighton back into contention, but he missed, steering the ball wide of Ederson’s goal. The speed of his break, however, had clearly played on the mind of Joao Cancelo. When Welbeck surge forward again, the right back got tangled up with him. It looked six of one half a dozen of the other, but Stuart Attwell thought otherwise and flourished the red card. Cancelo made his way to the dressing room dispatched by a chorus of “cheerios” from the crowd. How we have missed that.