Nowadays, even the last whistle is not always the last whistle. When referee Chris Cavanaugh flew in early, Soli’s equalizer at the end of March gave Brighton and Hove Albion a point against Manchester United – at least they deserved an impressive all-round performance. Yet this unusual game will come with a post script.
On VAR’s advice, Kavanagh restarted the game after consulting a pitchside monitor and found that Neil Moppe had worked in his penalty area on the very final play. The Brighton striker could barely see when Bruno Fernandes converted a spot-kick, the second final whistle came out immediately and United took all three points.
Even before the dramatic finale, this was the definition of daylight loot on the part of Ole Gunnar Salzkjr. A piece of Marcus Rashford’s personal ingenuity seemed to be enough to save United a superb performance and secure a crucial win, just to give the scoreline a good reflection of the balance of the game for the late March intervention. To. In short, it is.
Brighton deserved at least one point and looked like they could take all three when Moppe’s brilliant penalty put them ahead by the end of the first half. United would quickly equalize with their one Lewis Dunk goal, but even once Rashford completed the change with a brilliant single goal, the hosts were still the better side in almost every department.
Graham Potter and his players will be unhappy with their bad luck, not just for the late penalty award. Brighton hit the woodwork five times in total. Leandro Trasard completed the set – hitting both posts and cross bars – while March and Adam Webster were also denied by the goal frame. And when it’s not your day, it’s not really your day. It should come as no surprise, then, that the sentence was too late, since everything went against Brighton.
United were lucky to say the least, and lucky to go to the break level after a one-round first-half performance. It was not the same old story that occupied Solscare’s side, but the struggle to break up an organized defense, as opposed to the Palace. Brighton’s drilled and disciplined back five was still United’s measure but their next five were also impressive, exploiting space and running behind.
Trasard hit both posts within the first 21 minutes and when Webster forced David de Gea to score on a crossbar, Brighton’s goal suddenly felt right. In contrast, United’s attack threats were minimal and in between. Mason Greenwood thought for a moment that he had a success at the end of one – perhaps the only – free-flowing offensive move, but Rashford strayed slightly.
There was no surprise when Brighton finally led by Moppe’s penalty. It was conceded by Bruno Fernandez, who was overtaken by a troubled Brighton wing-back to Tariq Lampte, and United gave a spot-kick in two consecutive league games for the first time in 11 years. It spoke to the confidence flowing through Brighton that Moupe replaced with a brilliant pancake.
Their lead lasts only four minutes. United did not deserve an equalizer but were leveled by a quick Fernandez free-kick which was converted by Nimanja Matic towards the goal. Harry Maguire claimed to have taped the transfer from inside the six-yard box, but the final touch came out of Dunk’s boot. Whether or not they have their own goals, United have achieved them.
Another will be at the start of the second half when Paul Pogba is tied to the back of Aaron Connolly inside the box. Referee Kavanagh initially pointed to the spot but was persuaded to take a closer look through the pitchside monitor and reversed his decision. VAR came back into the game a few minutes later, canceling another joint goal for another Rashford offside.
However, if Rashford’s time was off most of the afternoon, it would be difficult for United to score another goal. Fernandez’s deep set was brilliant behind the ball from Rashford’s hand but it was Rashford’s own brilliant foot that shook poor Ben White, who fell to the ground twice trying to block a shot, which never came. Once Rashford realized he had pulled too hard with White, he landed the ball in the far, right-hand corner.
If only Brighton could be clinical. March had already approached once, a low, drilled shot bounced off the base of a distant post and crossed the target, but it was determined that in the fourth minute of added time a distant outpost Arriving late, I was stuck going backwards. Apparently, only Maguire’s last Gaspie title was judged for brushing Mauper’s arm out. There can be no complaints about the decision – handball law is how it is. Yet once the shocking turn of events unfolds, no one blames Brighton for the pain.