Brighton move closer to European football with narrow victory over United

Brighton and Hove Albion left it extremely late at the Amex stadium on thursday night against Manchester United as Alexis Mac Allister’s 99th-minute penalty was the only goal scored in the fixture.

The two teams cancelled each other out throughout the game with Brighton arguably deserving to win it at the end. It was Luke Shaw who made the mistake, in an otherwise flawless performance, to award Brighton the penalty with the ball striking his hand in the United penalty area.

Mac Allister smashed the penalty past David De Gea with essentially the last kick of the game to give Brighton all three points and move them up to 6th in the table, 4 points behind Liverpool with the Seagulls having two games in hand.

Brighton, who were outstanding under Graham Potter, seem to have a new spirit under Roberto De Zerbi. They had 60% possession against one of the best sides in the league, which does not come as a surprise given that the Italian’s side have been committed to playing possession-based football throughout the season. United had more attempts in the first half but the Seagulls looked like the only likely scorers in the second half.

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This victory would feel sweeter for Brighton after United knocked them out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals just two weeks ago on penalties. The two sides played out a stalemate over 120 minutes at Wembley with the tie going United’s way after Victor Lindelöf scored the winning penalty.

The dramatic ending also reminded some viewers of the meeting between these two sides back in the 2020/21 season when United controversially received a penalty after the final whistle was blown which led to them winning the match.

Brighton now lie comfortably in 6th and look on course to finish in the European spots and can even be seen as outsiders to fight for a top-four finish.

It will be a difficult task as they will be facing Arsenal, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Manchester City in 4 of their remaining 6 matches. The other two matches are also against Everton and Southampton who are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.

Whatever happens from here though, it has been an incredibly successful season for the team from the southern coast of England.

Manchester United still look on course to finish in the top-four with a 4-point gap to Liverpool and a game in hand. Erik Ten Hag’s men will be worried about their away record though as they have failed to win a single match against a team in the top half of the table away from home all season.