Manchester United and Brighton waited until the last seconds of the contest to decide a winner. A stalemate for 95 minutes came down to one Alexis Mac Allister penalty. The Argentine World Cup winner pumped the ball into the top corner to give Brighton all three points. Two teams rearing to earn European qualification had ample chances. For most of the game, it resembled the recent FA Cup semifinal. Only, on that occasion, Manchester United bested Brighton by a single penalty.
Manchester United retains its current spot in the table at fourth. However, there is a little less security over Liverpool. United does have a game in hand, but the gap is just four points. Brighton, on the other hand, is now up to sixth, four points worse than Liverpool. However, the Seagulls have played two fewer games than Liverpool, giving the Seagulls the inside track to finish in the Europa League spot.
Battles on the flank dictate game
The key for the first half came on the outsides for both clubs. On one side, it was Kaoru Mitoma dribbling against United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Across the pitch, Moises Caicedo tried to keep up with Marcus Rashford. Even though both Mitoma and Rashford had strong chances in the first half, the defense always did enough.
Mitoma had arguably the greatest chance of the first half, and it only came three minutes in. A loose pass among the United defense played the Japanese international through alone against David de Gea. Mitoma went for power over placement and struck the ball directly at the face of the Spanish goalkeeper. In truth, de Gea likely did not do much, but his head was in the right spot at the right time.
Mac Allister penalty gives Brighton win over Manchester United
In the second half, Brighton looked likely to score. While there were a number of attempts that required de Gea or a goal-line clearance, it was a defensive mistake that cost United the game. A fairly simple corner was exiting the area, but it struck the errant arm of Luke Shaw. After VAR called over the center referee, Brighton received a penalty kick.
Alexis Mac Allister, who may not even be in the Brighton squad next season, stepped up to take it. He was five-for-five from the spot in the campaign. Now, he is six-for-six.
Both Brighton and Manchester United are in action this weekend against bottom-half teams. United takes on West Ham United in London. Then, on Monday, Brighton travels to Everton.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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