Brighton 2, Man Utd 3
Bruno Fernandes’ 100th minute penalty sealed a dramatic victory for Manchester United at Brighton who hit the woodwork five times.Embed from Getty Images
United didn’t deserve anywhere near the three points that they got following the dramatic finish after Neal Maupay had given Brighton the lead from the penalty spot.
The passive Reds gave away 18 shots on goal, 5 hitting the woodwork with a further 5 on target from the Seagulls who had 54% of the possession and a penalty chalked off by VAR.
United took an unexpected lead through Lewis Dunk’s own goal and Marcus Rashford before Solly March though he had snatched a 95th minute equaliser before VAR spotted a handball by Maupay right at the death.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes from the side that played in the Carabao Cup in midweek but United again remained slow and ponderous defensively as the woodwork saved them from another embarrassing result at a blustery Amex.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic, and Mason Greenwood returned to the side for Daniel James, Scott McTominay, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
But there were clear signs that United were no where near fit enough for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s style of play.
“We got away with one” admitted Solskjaer after the game, who added that his players weren’t fully match fit against a difficult opponent.
He added: “They created too much for my liking, but they are difficult team to play against and have good ball players at the back.
“We don’t have the legs and sharpness at the moment. There’s a lot of work to be done.
“Sometimes you have to take the points and work on it. The lads showed their quality a few times and David [De Gea] made an important save from [Leandro] Trossard.”
Lacklustre Manchester United somehow get all three points
Trossard was denied three times by the woodwork, which frustrated the Seagulls five times in all in the match, and finally by David De Gea in injury time as Brighton were left empty handed following the United smash and grab.
Brighton dominated the first half and were denied a goal three times by the woodwork I the first half alone – twice Trossard hit the post while Adam Webster’s header crashed onto the crossbar.
United were poor but had a Greenwood goal ruled out for an offside by Marcus Rashford in the build up in the first half.
The energetic Tariq Lamptey won a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Bruno Fernandes, and such was the confidence of Seagulls striker Neal Maupay that he cheekily sent David De Gea the wrong way with a dinked ball that looped up and down to the right of De Gea.
Bruno Fernandes’ free kick was flicked back into towards the six yard box where Lewis Dunk turned the ball into hs own net under pressure from Harry Maguire to level the scores.
Aaron Connolly was initially adjudged to have been brought down by Paul Pogba to win a second penalty immediately after the restart.
But Chris Kavanagh was sent to the pitch side monitor for Brighton’s second monitor and he overturned the penalty shout after reviewing it himself an concluding there wasn’t enough contact.
And United thought they were 2-1 up after 52 minutes when Greenwood slid in Rashford but a VAR review concluded the England striker was offside.
Rashford made no mistake 3 minutes later when he weaved his way through the Brighton defence after breaking free in his own half, turning Ben White inside out before his shot went in off Dunk.
Brighton were denied by the woodwork for a fourth time as Solly March hit the foot of the post with United players all at sea.
Pogba was withdrawn for Fred after 65 minutes as Solksjaer looked to tighten up in midfield and they certainly needed that solidity as Maupay wriggled his way clear in the area with United defenders reluctant to challenge him and forced De Gea into a save.
White robbed Martial with an inch perfect interception after Fernandes had slipped him through but the Frenchman took a heavy first touch.
Leandro Trossard denied by woodwork; Brighton denied by VAR
Trossard was denied for a third time when his fierce shot came back off the crossbar as United lived dangerously – the French winger had hit both posts in the first half to complete the collection.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka blocked a March drive before Eric Bailly was brought on to further shore up the shaky defence by replacing Greenwood while Donny van de Beek replaced Martial soon afterwards.
Trossard had an injury time chance to level the scores when, right after Steven Alzate’s blocked shot fell to him and, in front of goal seven yards out, he shot straight at De Gea who gratefully collected the ball.
But Brighton deserved more and Solly March hit his first Premier League goal for almost two years in the 95th minute when Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s cross was missed by Adam Webster but March was there to head home from 4 yards out.
Deep breath and game over? Not this time!
Maguire’s even later header was headed off the line but there was a late VAR check when Maupay’s arm was spotted deflecting the United captain’s final chance after the final whistle had gone.
It was inevitably a penalty after an inspection on the pitch side monitor and Maupay was distraught as Fernandes then stepped up, dispensed with the frills, and smashed the ball past Mat Ryan into the top right hand corner a full 10 minutes into injury time to break Brighton hearts.
GOALS – Brighton 2, Man Utd 3
Brighton 1, Man Utd 0: 40. Neal Muapay sent David De Gea the wrong way with a cheekily chipped spot kick after Tariq Lamptey was fouled by Buno Fernandes in the area.
Brighton 1, Man Utd 1: 43. Lewis Dunk put through his own net from 6 yards out under pressure from Harry Maguire after Bruno Fernandes’ free kick was sent back into the mixer by Nemanja Matic at the back post.
Brighton 1, Man Utd 2: 55. Marcus Rashford ran from his own half with the ball, doing Ben White twice before scoring with a goalbound deflected shot off Lewis Dunk.
Brighton 2, Man Utd 2: 90+5. Solly March’s header from Alirezah Jahanbakhsh’s cross looked to have saved a point for Brightonn.
Brighton 2, Man Utd 3, 90+10. Bruno Fernandes’ simple penalty was smashed to the top right corner.
MATCH STATS – Brighton 2, Man Utd 3
Brighton: Ryan, White, Dunk, Webster, Lamptey, Lallana (Gross 75), Alzate, March, Trossard, Connolly (Jahanbakhsh 75), Maupay
Brighton Subs not used: Steele, Bernardo, Burn, Veltman, Molumby
Booked: White, Dunk, Trossard, Jahanbakhsh
Goals: Maupay 40 pen; March 90+5
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba (Fred 65), Matic, Greenwood (Bailly 83), Fernandes, Rashford, Martial (van de Beek 90+1)
Man Utd subs not used: Henderson, Lingard, Fosu-Mensah, McTominay
Booked: Matic, Fernandes
Goals: Dunk og 43; Rashford 55; Fernandes pen 90+10
Referee: Chris Kavanagh