Football: Champions Manchester City make up game in hand, close on English Premier League lead with win over Brentford

Erling Haaland has erased any questions about his scoring touch, netting Manchester City's only goal in a 1-0 victory over Brentford that lifted them into second place in the English Premier League table, just one point behind leaders Liverpool.

Unbeaten in their last 10 league matches - and finally even in games played with title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal - Pep Guardiola's team have 56 points, one ahead of Arsenal in a title race that looks destined to go down to the wire. Brentford are five points above the relegation zone in 14th.

Haaland, who three days earlier pushed a camera in frustration, after failing to score with nine shots in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, was back in form, increasing his league tally to 17 goals.

Erling Haaland in action against Brentford.
Erling Haaland in action against Brentford. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Norwegian broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, when he sprinted onto a beautiful through ball from Julian Alvarez, then stroked it past a slipping Kristoffer Ajer, before beating keeper Mark Flekken. Haaland has now scored against every premier league club he has faced. He has yet to play Luton Town.

"It wasn't easy," City defender Manuel Akanji told Sky Sports. "We scored a goal on the counterattack.

"The defender slipped early and the efficiency was there [from Haaland]. He scored a great goal.

"We know how hard it is to play against Brentford, with their back five. That's why we tried to attack and we didn't run into too many counterattacks.

"I can't remember too many big chances they had. After the weekend, we had to show a reaction and I feel we did that.

"Now we have to improve game by game."

Haaland had another effort ruled out late in the game, because Kyle Walker was offside in the buildup.

Chelsea had thoroughly frustrated City and it was  more of the same - besides Haaland's goal - with City taking 25 shots, 11 on target, to Brentford's two, with Flekken producing an excellent performance.

Oscar Bobb, who made his first premier league start, had one of City's best chances, deftly cutting around Christian Norgaard, before unleashing a shot that defender Ben Mee sprinted back to just clear off the line.

Brentford missed a huge early opportunity, when Frank Onyeka ran onto a pass from Yoane Wissa, but shot straight at City's keeper Ederson.