Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team really needed a victory in this year’s second Premier League match after the first last weekend ended with a slight 1-3 loss at home to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
They got it. Finally. After a wild drama.
We jump straight to the very last thing that happens: Referee Chris Kavanagh blows off the settlement at the position 2-2 after Brighton equalized deservedly in overtime.
Then it turns out that something has happened in the Brighton box on the corner right in front: The TV pictures show that Neal Maupay was hit by the ball with his hand when Harry Maguire headed the ball towards Brighton’s goal.
Kavanagh runs out to the screen on the sideline and takes a good look, before he makes a VAR square with his hands, starts the match again and blows a penalty to Solskjær’s team. It certainly puts Bruno Fernandes in the box. Then the referee blows the whistle again.
The Brighton players raged against the referee. Understandably, but there was little doubt that Maupay handled. Leandro Trossard was understandably far down after the settlement.
– Incredible. A feeling I can not describe. We were better than them today. We deserved at least one point, it’s a shame. It was added five minutes, and we played at least seven, he says to BT Sport, according to the BBC.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær should say that he won very, very happy. Brighton were the best throughout the settlement, possibly with the exception of a period initially in the second half. “The Seagulls” created the most, ran the most and had the most imagination when they attacked.
That they had 14 finishes against United’s five says it all. The same goes for the fact that they hit the posts around United goalkeeper David de Gea five times (!).
This is by far the highest number of times a team has hit the posts in one match since the statistics agency Opta began delivering figures on just that 17 years ago.
Sunshine: – Relax
Ole Gunnar Solskjær admits that his team was lucky.
– We escaped. Maybe we deserved one point, but we did not deserve more. Our efforts deserved more. Last season we had too many draws, so that’s a big plus for us. One must be happy that José (Mourinho) is not here to measure the posts, he says with a twinkle in his eye.
– It is a difficult team to face. We do not have (strength in) the legs and sharpness, but we will get there. We have a lot of work ahead of us, he adds.
United’s penalty expert Bruno Fernandes, who put in the decisive goal, is not very impressed with his own team, but at the same time sends a small shot to Brighton.
– We gave them so much room. We were not aggressive, we gave away two goals. Brighton were very good, but maybe because we were not as aggressive as we would like to be. We need more recycling, more pressure and more ball. Maybe they deserved more. The point is to score goals, not hit the post. “Sometimes you have to have a little luck,” he told BT Sport, according to the BBC.
United certainly did not just have luck even though they had more luck than the home team. Solskjær’s boys had two online acquaintances canceled for offside after a VAR check, but won the settlement with the counting goals.
Brighton boss Graham Potter was proud of his boys after the match, even though they lost in a very unusual way.
– The performance was outstanding. I’m so proud of the guys. It’s a sour one, to say the least. “Sometimes life is unfair, and that’s how it feels now,” Potter told the BBC.
Brighton started best, and excelled in the ninth minute when Leandro Trossard hammered with his left leg from an angle from around 20 meters. No United players came up in the home team’s attacking player, who had time to shoot.
Fortunately for Solskjær, the ball slammed into the post behind de Gea.
12 minutes later the same thing happened again. Brighton played forward against a hesitant United defense, and Trossard came to the shot. This time, however, he did not aim at the nearest intersection, but at the farthest corner along the hill. Once again, the ball hit the post.
After just under half an hour, it was Adam Webster’s turn to hit the metal when he came heading into the United box, but de Gea would probably have stopped the ball if the heading had seemed to lurk under the crossbar.
After just over half an hour, United, unlike Brighton, got the ball in goal, but the net knowledge was correctly canceled for offside. Marcus Rashford was clearly on the wrong side when he received the ball before playing to Mason Greenwood, who finished brilliantly.
Five minutes before the break, the home team took the deserved lead. Super talent Tariq Lamptey was clumsily dropped in the United box by Bruno Fernandes. The 19-year-old right-back just got a touch on the ball, before Fernandes felled him.
The punishment that followed was of the totally humiliating kind. Maupay went for a “Panenka” – a chip in the middle of the goal. That variant is beautiful when it works, but hopeless when it does not.
In this case, it went the way of Maupay, who is obviously full of confidence.
Two minutes before the break, however, United equalized against the game. Fernandes unleashed a swerving effort from the right that the visitors’ keeper did well to tip wide. At the back post, an unmarked Nemanja Matic waited, who managed to hit the ball back in front of goal. There, Harry Maguire pressured Lewis Dunk to put the ball in his own net.
Just after the break, referee Kavanagh blew a penalty to Brighton, after Aaron Connolly was apparently sent off by Paul Pogba, but the referee reversed the situation after seeing clips of the incident.
Six minutes into the second half, VAR had to be used again when Rashford finished brilliantly, but the score was canceled out for offside.
Immediately afterwards, United got the ball in the net for the fourth time this afternoon, and this time the score remained the same. Bruno Fernandes unleashed a swerving effort from the right that the visitors’ keeper did well to tip wide.
Rashford caught the ball at full speed, cut into Brighton’s box from the left, before he fired a shot twice and finally shot hard via Dunk and into the net.
After an hour of play, the home team hit the post for the fourth time (!). After a short tussle with the defender, Solly March finally tucked the ball home. The ball hit the inside of de Gea’s longest post, before going back along the line and away from goal.
A quarter of an hour before the end, Brighton hit the post for the fifth time in the match, when Trossard went with the left leg from a good position after a good Brighton counterattack.
In overtime, the redemptive equalizer came from the match’s perhaps best player, Solly March, but it did not help much in the end.
Solskjærs United got all three points after deciding after the final signal. It’s not going to happen again right away.