Man City overcame Brighton in the second half, with goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva, to return to the top of the Premier League.
Graham Potter’s side frustrated the hosts at the Etihad before the interval. However, deflected efforts from Mahrez and Foden calmed their concerns.
Bernardo Silva settled any nerves completely with a fine third goal for the hosts eight minutes from time.
Liverpool’s hammering of Manchester United on Tuesday had put the pressure back on City in a thrilling title race.
Following Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola made six changes, with Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson among those who returned.
As a result, the home team was full of confidence, but Brighton was not in the mood to take things easy.
After a beautiful move, City proved their threat after 10 minutes when Foden whipped in a cross from the left, but Mahrez failed to make decent contact with his header.
Soon after, Mahrez was given another chance when goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s clearance fell to him, but the Algerian took too long to react, allowing Moises Caicedo to recover and tackle him.
When Sanchez punched away a De Bruyne cross, he seemed more assured, and he also did well to grab an effort from Silva beneath his own bar.
City came closest in the first half when De Bruyne unleashed a devastating long-range shot that sailed barely wide. City continued to press, but skipper Lewis Dunk, who stayed firm to deny an Ilkay Gundogan shot before the break, typified Brighton’s tenacity.
Nathan Ake, who started at left-back for City, was forced to make a half-time substitution after picking up a knock.
Ruben Dias took his place. Dias, who had been absent for nine games due to injury, returned to his old position of center-back, with John Stones moving to right-back and Joao Cancelo switching flanks to the left.
City increased the tempo and forced a flurry of corners before breaking through after 53 minutes. De Bruyne was the driving force behind the attack.
Again City benefited from a stroke of fortune as Foden took aim from distance following a corner and saw his effort clip Enock Mwepu to wrong-foot Sanchez and find the bottom corner.
Foden went close to another after being put through soon after but Sanchez stood tall to save with his legs. City wrapped up the game late on after Brighton made a mess of playing out from the back.
Substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko won possession and found De Bruyne, who in turn fed Silva to sweep home from the edge of the area.
When the opportunity arose, Mahrez dashed in on goal and fired a shot that took a deflection, this time from Dunk, and looped over Sanchez.
With that, much of the tension in the air appeared to dissipate, and City raced forth. Brighton remained resolute enough to stop a Stones shot in a crowded area, and Sanchez saved brilliantly from De Bruyne, but they were breached again on 65 minutes.