LONDON • Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that his team were lucky to clinch all three points yesterday after beating Brighton 3-2 at the very last second, and said that the Red Devils have plenty of work to do.
Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty, awarded following a video assistant referee (VAR) review after the final whistle had been blown, as United rode their luck at the Amex Stadium to register their first Premier League points of the season. Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Solskjaer said: “We got away with one. Maybe one point we deserved, we didn’t deserve more. But the character deserved more.
“Last season we had too many draws, so that is a big plus for us.
“They are a difficult team to play against. We don’t have the legs and sharpness but we will get there. We have plenty of work ahead.”
The Seagulls hit the woodwork five times and thought they had earned a deserved point when Solly March headed home to equalise in the 95th minute.
However, Neal Maupay’s handball was penalised by referee Chris Kavanagh after he had blown for full-time and Fernandes converted from the spot in the 100th minute.
According to Opta statistics, the Portuguese playmaker’s goal at 99 minutes 45 seconds is the latest scored in the Premier League since Juan Mata’s strike for Chelsea against Norwich in August 2011 (100min 3sec).
Luck aside, United were sluggish. It took them 33 minutes to muster a flowing move involving the front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood, who scored but his goal was ruled out for offside against Rashford.
Brighton opened the scoring when Tariq Lamptey burst into the box from right wingback and was clipped by Fernandes. Maupay converted the penalty with a cheeky chip down the middle of the goal.
The lead lasted just three minutes as, from a fiercely driven Fernandes free kick, Lewis Dunk turned the ball into his own net.
The VAR came to the rescue of both sides within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
- ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester United 3
SCORING THE KEY, BAR NONE
Brighton did very well… Maybe they deserved more. The point is to score goals not hit the bar.
BRUNO FERNANDES, Manchester United midfielder, after the hosts’ Leandro Trossard (thrice), Adam Webster and Solly March all hit the woodwork.
It’s a sore one, to say the least. Sometimes life isn’t fair and it feels like that at the moment.
GRAHAM POTTER, Brighton boss, after seeing his side take 18 shots to United’s seven. The visitors scored from all three of their shots on target.
United thought they had given a away a second spot kick of the match when Paul Pogba was penalised for pulling back Aaron Connolly. However, Kavanagh overturned his initial decision when he saw a replay of the incident.
At the other end, Rashford swept home Greenwood’s low cross but the VAR ruled against United with the scorer marginally offside.
There was no stopping Rashford moments later when he raced onto Fernandes’ ball over the top and, with a deflected effort, the ball found the top corner.
The Seagulls seemed to finally have their reward when March ghosted in at the back post to head home Alireza Jahanbakash’s cross.
But, in a chaotic finale, Harry Maguire’s header from a corner struck Maupay’s arm. Fernandes stayed cool to ensure United escaped with all three points.
Brighton boss Graham Potter told BBC Sport: “It’s a sore one, to say the least. Sometimes life isn’t fair and it feels like that at the moment. I don’t know what the shot count (18-7) was but we were dominant. We deserved something from the game to say the least.”
In the later match, the VAR was a central figure again, as Everton were awarded a penalty after Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward was adjudged to have handled in the area.
Richarlison fired home from the spot to seal Everton’s 2-1 win at Selhurst Park, maintaining their 100 per cent record this season.