Report: United 2 Brighton 1
Manchester United came from behind at Old Trafford to beat Brighton 2-1 with second-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
It was a goalscoring day all-round for United's home produced hitmen both old and new as our former academy product Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the Seagulls after 13 minutes to shock his former club.
The post-international break return to Premier League football proved to be a difficult one as we found it tough against Graham Potter’s side who were looking for the club’s first-ever victory at Old Trafford in 14 attempts.
Welbeck’s goal rocked the Reds but in the second half Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side dug deep to break down Brighton and Rashford equalised after 62 minutes before Greenwood headed home an 83rd-minute winner.
FIRST HALF - OLD BOY WELBECK STRIKES FOR SEAGULLS
It was certainly unlucky for the Reds when we went behind after just 13 minutes. And it was almost inevitable that it would be Welbeck who put Brighton ahead at Old Trafford. Since leaving United in 2014 our former Academy product, Welbeck has scored against us three times for Arsenal.
He added a fourth to his CV with a typical striker’s goal. The Mancunian powered a header from close range after connecting with a Neal Maupay cross that Dean Henderson reacted to save superbly with his leg, but as the ball rebounded back into the danger area Welbeck’s momentum took him onto the loose ball and his second header hit the back of the Stretford End net.
United were almost caught out again at the back, five minutes later, as Brighton captain Lewis Dunk sent a headset goalwards from a free-kick that Henderson, once again, brilliantly tipped onto the bar and over to avoid us going 2-0 down.
The Reds were finding it a struggle to get back into the match and it wasn’t until the 38th-minute that we really threatened, but Paul Pogba dragged a good chance wide from a Bruno Fernandes lay-off.
It was the visitors, though, who ended the first 45 minutes on a high with a flurry of late efforts that certainly made United look a touch uncomfortable.
SECOND HALF - MARCUS AND MASON DO THE BUSINESS
United continued to have a hard time finding our passing game and invention that might break down the Seagulls, but the Reds kept the pressure on.
On the hour there was a spark of ingenuity from Pogba as he released Fernandes, but Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez was swiftly onto our Portuguese midfielder to smother his attempt and the danger was cleared. But Brighton were not off the hook and Bruno was the source of United’s equaliser in the 62nd-minute as he slipped a lovely ball into Rashford and the striker coolly finished to level up the match.
There was a scare for the Reds 20 minutes from time when the Maupay-Welbeck link-up, that had undone them for Brighton’s first-half goal, created danger again. This time Welbeck went down in the box claiming that Harry Maguire had hauled him down with this arm. VAR had a look at the incident and ruled that there was no offence even though Brighton’s players were furious.
Goalkeeper Sanchez spilled a ferocious low shot from Fernandes in the 76th-minute and sub Dan James touched the loose ball to Greenwood, but our striker couldn’t keep his close-range effort down and the ball spooned up over the bar.
Greenwood made no mistake in the 83rd-minute when he put United ahead as Brighton's resistance collapsed. Fernandes was the source of the goal as he picked out Pogba lurking in the box. Our French midfielder drove his shot into the ground and it popped up nicely for Greenwood to stoop and force his header - a first for the senior team - beyond Brighton's desperate attempts to keep the ball out of the net.
United saw off late pressure from the visitors to claim a vital victory.
United: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, Pogba (McTominay 84), Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford (James 72), Cavani (van de Beek 81).
Subs not used: De Gea, Amad, Matic, Williams, Tuanzebe.
Goals: Rashford 62, Greenwood 83
Booked: Greenwood, Cavani
Brighton: Sanchez, Veltman, White, Dunk, Moder (Zeqiri 87), Gross, Bissouma, Lallana (Jahanbakhsh,87), Trossard (MacAllister 63) Welbeck, Maupay.
Subs not used: Steele, Karbownik, Alzate, Izquierdo, Propper, Caicedo.
Goal: Welbeck 13
Booked: White, Gross