As many of their games have played out in recent weeks, Manchester United created a flurry of half-chances in the opening moments of play, thanks in large part to the plethora of attacking quality on the pitch. However, the ‘Red Devils’ struggled to find the final pass and finish off any of their slick moves, leaving Brighton within touching distance of the home side. To make matters worse, the ‘Seagulls’ grew into the game in the final ten minutes of the first half and came close to penetrating the United defense on numerous occasions, but like the hosts, failed to find the quality in front of goal. As the two managers headed down the tunnel for HT, it was likely Ralf Rangnick felt fortunate to still be level.
The hosts’ quality finally shone through five minutes into the second half, when Ronaldo picked up the ball in the attacking half of the pitch and went on a fantastic solo run before lashing the ball into the back of the net to give Rangnick’s men the lead they had been pushing for. To compound their misery, Brighton defender Lewis Dunk was sent off for bringing down Anthony Elanga, who was breaking away towards the visitor’s goal, leaving Graham Potter’s men to fight through the final 35 minutes with ten men.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Brighton showed a propensity to get forward and put pressure on the United backline, and almost snatched a late equalizer when Jakub Moder almost caught an outstretching David de Gea out with a thunderous effort from distance, but it crashed off the bar, much to the relief of the home crowd. A 97th-minute goal on the break from Bruno Fernandes eased the tensions in the stadium, and wrap up a vital three points for United and their pursuit for the top-four.
While they performed well up until the Dunk sending off, Brighton will leave Manchester without a victory against either of the cities two clubs in their last 20 attempts, shining a light on their struggles in the rainy city.