BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) -Manchester City enjoyed a rampant 4-1 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion helped by England midfielder Phil Foden's double in their Premier League match on Saturday.
After losing their first seven Premier League games against City by an aggregate score of 21-2, in the last meeting between the teams in May Brighton came from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
But, despite making their best-ever start to a top-flight season this term, Brighton had no answer to the City machine in the first half as the visitors had the job all but done inside 31 minutes. The win moved them up to second in the standings.
Pep Guardiola's side battered the Brighton goal from the start, racing into a 13th minute lead through Ilkay Gundogan after a mistake from home goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
City soon extended their lead as Foden got his first of the match, steering Jack Grealish's square pass into the net in the 28th minute, before the 21-year-old got the final touch on Gabriel Jesus' shot to make it 3-0 three minutes later.
The visitors took their foot off the gas in the second period, with Alexis Mac Allister's penalty nine minutes from time giving Brighton a consolation goal.
City substitute Riyad Mahrez put the icing on the cake with the fourth goal in stoppage time, sealing a win that moved the champions to 20 points, two points above Liverpool, who visit Manchester United on Sunday, and within two points of Chelsea.
Brighton stay fourth on 15 points from nine games.
"I know what it means coming here against this team, against this manager and this stadium and win here," Guardiola said.
"It is a good lesson that in football it must be played with the ball and when you don't have it you suffer. Brighton are so hard to play against for 90 minutes. Against another opponent the game would be over (at 3-0), against this team it was not over."
Brighton's Lewis Dunk had already had to make an acrobatic goal-line clearance to keep City at bay before Gundogan broke the deadlock, with Bernardo Silva hooking the ball into the German's path after Sanchez had failed to gather a cross.
Brighton had only conceded six goals in eight league games prior to City's visit, but they had soon shipped two more, thanks to Foden.
City finished the first half having had nine shots on target - more than any other side in a Premier League match this season - but it was Brighton who started stronger after the break, with Leandro Trossard denied by a smart save from Ederson.
The home side did get a deserved goal through substitute Mac Allister, after Ederson fouled Enock Mwepu in the penalty area, with Foden missing another chance to net his first City treble before he picked out Mahrez to fire home the fourth.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)