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Report: United suffer a shock defeat at Brighton

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Manchester United suffered a first away league defeat since February on Friday night as hosts Brighton & Hove Albion secured a second successive season in the top flight.

Pascal Gross, the Seagulls' Player of the Year, settled the contest shortly before the hour mark with a header which Marcos Rojo seemed to have brilliantly cleared, only for goal-line technology to inform referee Craig Pawson that a goal should be awarded.

The Reds' own award-winner, David De Gea, was arguably the best performer for Jose Mourinho's men, making several fine saves to frustrate Brighton until Gross decisively broke the deadlock.
The first chance of the match fell United’s way when Shane Duffy brought down Marcus Rashford just outside the box. Taking the free-kick himself, Rashford produced a menacing cross which Marouane Fellaini turned into the net, but his goal was ruled out as the linesman raised his flag for offside.
 
Under pressure from Chris Smalling, Jose Izquierdo cut inside and laid the ball off to Gross on the edge of the box who unleashed Brighton’s first shot on goal. His effort, though, was straight at David De Gea and was comfortably gathered by the Spaniard.
 
On 20 minutes, Glen Murray produced the best effort of the first half, a dipping effort from 25 yards which looked destined for the top left corner, only for De Gea to produce yet another of his trademark world-class saves.
 
At the other end, Paul Pogba had an effort from distance of his own but the Frenchman’s curling shot rose harmlessly over the bar of the Brighton goal.
 
Five minutes later, Izquierdo was again proving a threat from the left side, although his strike was diverted over by the fingertips of De Gea. From the following corner, Duffy glanced Gross’ cross in the direction of Murray who was left stretching for the ball at the back post.
 
The hosts had frustrated United for long periods of the first half and as the referee blew for half-time there was a desire for things to improve after the interval.
Like in the first half, the Reds made the better start to the second period and, with some neat footwork in the box, Pogba unleashed a low curling effort, although Mathew Ryan got down well to his right in the Brighton goal and held on to it.
 
A little over ten minutes into the second half, the Seagulls swooped to score the solitary goal of the evening. Izquierdo’s dangerous ball in from the by-line was headed powerfully by Gross and although Rojo did well to connect with it, Pawson confirmed after a few seconds of play that the effort had crossed the line.
 
With confidence surging after going ahead, Chris Hughton’s men were on the front foot, buoyed by the fact that taking all the points would earn them another season in the top flight.

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In search of an equaliser, Rashford took aim from the edge of the area but despite stinging the hands of Ryan, he couldn’t beat the Australian goalkeeper. Martial then also had a chance to level for the Reds but lifted his shot over.
 
With five minutes left, substitute Jesse Lingard played a sharp one-two inside the box, only for his chance to go begging as well.
 
As four minutes of added time got under way, the Seagulls were hanging on as United continued to knock on the door in search of a goal to level the match, but Ryan and his defence stood firm, meaning this fixture will return in the Premier League next season as Brighton secured safety. The Reds, meanwhile, still need four points to guarantee second spot behind Manchester City, at least until the weekend's fixtures for Liverpool and Tottenham take place.

Young is honest in defeat at BrightonVideo

THE LINE-UPS
 
Brighton: Ryan; Bruno (c), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo (March 88); Gross (Kayal 84); Murray (Ulloa 93). 
 
Subs not used: Krul, Goldson, Schelotto, Locadia.
 
Booked: Murray, Duffy.
 
United: De Gea; Darmian (Shaw 69), Smalling, Rojo (McTominay 76), Young (c); Matic, Fellaini (Lingard 69), Pogba; Mata, Rashford, Martial.
 
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Lindelof, Herrera.
Chris Hughton's side ensured their Premier League survival with the victory
WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED? 
 
The Reds will again be away from home on Thursday night (10 May) with a trip to the London Stadium for the penultimate Premier League outing of the season. The match against David Moyes's West Ham United kicks off at 20:00 BST.