Raheem Sterling bends to conquer Brighton with hat-trick in Manchester City | Soccer

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On the horizon where beauty and sadism meet, Manchester City has torn Brighton into lavish, ornate shreds. It was luxurious, it was cruel, it was useless and yet, in a strange way, it seemed to mean everything. Everyone knows that the biggest battles in City are farther away: in the Champions League and in the courtroom in Lausanne where they will learn their fate on Monday. And here, with nothing tangible to play in the league, City could just play for the fun of it, encouraged by opposition more than happy to let them do it.Raheem Sterling had a hat trick, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva each added one, but at the time, everyone was having too much fun keeping counting. For all the muted celebrations and multiple substitutions, making the whole affair feel like an international friendlies against a small island nation with a valuable vote on the FIFA executive committee, the intensity of the city was unstoppable and irresistible . Perhaps on reflection, this is the best way to appreciate the baroque creation of Pep Guardiola: no fans, no background noise, no forced narratives. Just football as its own lavish ending.

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