Persistence pays off as Man Utd finally break stubborn Brighton resistance

Date published: Sunday 4th April 2021 9:24 - Steve Pearson

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Man Utd took another step closer to securing a top four finish after grinding out a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Brighton.

Man Utd looked dangerous early on through the trio of Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford down the left.


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It was Mason Greenwood who came closest to breaking the deadlock, however, the youngster rattling the woodwork with a low drive from an acute angle.

Brighton had struggled to get to grips with the pace early on, though took the lead against the run of play with their first attack in anger.

Former Red Devil Danny Welbeck ghosted in between Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to head goalward. Dean Henderson made a smart stop to initially deny the forward, but was alive to nod home the rebound from point-blank range.

Crosses were proving a problem for the hosts. Lewis Dunk then rose highest to meet a free-kick from wide, though Henderson was equal to the task, parrying the effort over for a corner.

Despite dominating the possession stakes, Man Utd were failing to create an opportunity of note.

On the rare occasion a chance to break at pace materialised, Brighton shirts streamed back in great numbers to extinguish the threat before Robert Sanchez could be called into action.

As half-time neared, Jakub Moder came close to doubling the Seagull’s advantage after prodding narrowly wide from a corner.

Man Utd registered their first shot on target in the 52nd minute. Marcus Rashford picked up possession and rifled a strike from 25 yards that nestled comfortably in the gloves of Sanchez.

Brighton were defending resolutely, though the odd opening was beginning to appear.

An incisive lofted pass from Wan-Bissaka met the run of Fernandes in behind. The Portuguese’s usual pinpoint first touch evaded him as Sanchez was able to smother the opportunity.

The playmaker would not let a second chance go begging moments later, this time finding the killer pass to Rashford to place a low shot inside the far post as parity was restored.

With the game tantalisingly poised, Brighton were denied a penalty after Welbeck went down under the attentions of Maguire. Replays showed contact was minimal and insufficient to warrant a spot-kick.

Man Utd’s hopes of notching a winner took a blow when Rashford was forced off after sustaining a knock from a heavy challenge.

Greenwood saw a sharp chance loop agonisingly over the bar as the three points remained up for grabs for both sides entering the final 10 minutes.

Man Utd took a step towards securing them when Greenwood was in the right place at the right time.

A mishit Paul Pogba bounced back across goal, with Greenwood the quickest to react to power the ball beyond Sanchez with a diving header.

Brighton threw bodies forward hoping to arrest the situation, but time was against them as Man Utd rounded out 2-1 winners at Old Trafford.

 

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