Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan found the net to shatter Liverpool’s dreams as Manchester City beat Brighton to lift the English Premier League shield.
Manchester City became the first team to defend the Premier League title in a decade, are champions again.
They have held off the threat of Liverpool, pipping them to the title after amassing 98 points. In the end, it was enough.
City scored four times here, recovering from Glenn Murray’s 27th minute strike to canter to victory on the south coast.
Nobody ever tells you Brighton is a tough place to go, but City still had to win down here.
They did it, adding to their 37th minute lead through Aymeric Laporte when Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan sealed it in the second half.
Mahrez’s goal, pinging off his right foot on the edge of the area, was a peach.
Gundogan’s free-kick, bending over the Brighton wall after 72 minutes, started off the celebs on the south coast.
There was a little scare, a little wobble when Brighton went in front.
It was short-lived.
A minute, as they say, is a long time in football.
That is how long Brighton’s lead lasted before it was scrubbed out by Sergio Aguero.
These Seagulls were getting excitable, jumping around in the stands after Murray’s turned in a corner from Pascal Gross.
They knew what it could have meant because news had already dripped through that Liverpool were in front.
It added a little bit of tension to the place, with Pep fretting on the touchline after confirmation that Sadio Mane had put Liverpool in front.
Murray’s goal, a freebie after Shane Duffy blocked the runs of City’s defenders, gave City a gee-up.
David Silva’s flick put Aguero in, wrong-footing Brighton’s defence to give the City forward chance to equalise.
He took it, taking aim before beating Maty Ryan with a standard, ruthless finish less than a minute after Brighton’s goal.
After that, it was all City.
Mahrez, making a rare Premier League start, had a big chance to make it 2-1 when Murray casually lost the ball outside the area.
Then came the defining goal, the strike that sealed the trophy for City.
Mahrez sent in a corner 37 minutes in, with Aymeric Laporte rising above the Brighton defender to send a downward header beyond Ryan.
They have been waiting a long time for this, a throwback to the time when he would cause havoc in Leicester colours.
Finally, they saw the best of him.
He scored the third for City after 63 minutes when he scored after a series of feints and dummies on the edge of the area.
David Silva had supplied the pass, but it was the added quality of Mahrez that sealed it.
His corkscrew strike, with similarities to Vincent Kompany’s fading effort against Leicester last Monday, started the party.
Everybody knew the game was up after that.
Brighton had done their bit by scoring early, giving their fans something to cheer about on the final day of the season.
Safety was secured for the Seagulls when their good friends from Crystal Palace did them an almighty favour by beating Cardiff.
They played a part in this final fixture when they went in front, but City were too strong, too powerful, too motivated.
Gundogan fancied his chance from the free-kick on the edge of the area after 72 minutes.
He beat Brighton’s defensive wall, curling it beyond the fingertips of the keeper.
That was the goal that moved Pep, catapulting himself out of the technical area and into the air.
His coaching staff joined in the celebrations, with the hugs and slaps and pats on the back lasting forever.
Pep was determined to win back-to-back titles, to become the first team since Manchester United to keep hold of the trophy.
He knows that they have been run close, that Liverpool have covered some ground after last season.
They will be back for more next season.
Pep knows that and it will be his job, once the FA Cup final against Watford is out of the way, to reinforce this squad.
They have the means to do it.
Once they got into their stride here they pulverised Brighton with their trademark, brutal finishing.
They have amassed 198 points over the past two seasons, the dominant force in English football these days.
It is down to their rivals – Liverpool, Tottenham – to do something about it next season.
They know that Liverpool are coming for them again in August, re-arming as they prepare for another title challenge.
Even then, City will still be the team to beat.