Manchester United fell again on the road in the Premier League, surrendering a heartbreaking penalty to Brighton & Hove Albion in the final minutes after battling at 0-0 for 94 minutes. The two sides had little between them 12 days ago in the FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley, and that’s as the case again on Thursday. It was nearly another goalless draw, but chaos and a bit of proper Barclays came in to once again let a spot-kick determine the result.
It was an evenly contested first half hour. David De Gea forced to make a save with Kaoru Mitoma pouncing on a soft pass from Victor Lindelof, blocking the shot with his face and receiving some attention for a possible head injury. He was eventually cleared to continue, and would make another nice stop on a corner kick attempt.
On the other end, the Reds made a couple really nice opportunities for themselves. Antony had two attempts himself, both from good positioning and runs. The first came in the opening minutes, running across from the wing for Bruno to find on a through ball, but he placed the shot wide of the goal. The second was a supporting run for Martial, but again the shot was off as he found the side netting.
Shaky defending from the midfield and Victor Lindelof gave the hosts some threatening moments, but they avoided conceding anything too dangerous.
The second half of the match was a bit more in Brighton’s favor, with Mitoma taking the initiative to run at Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The right back held firm in the match at Wembley a couple weeks ago, and continued to pester the talented winger at the Amex.
Things got a bit heated as well between the sides, with referee Andre Marriner letting plenty of offenses slide for both teams. The frustration built and built, and Antony nearly got sent off after kicking out at Webster after a no-call. He was substituted shortly after, with Jadon Sancho coming on, but as the clock ticked down it seemed more and more like another 0-0 draw between the teams.
Late chances did come around for the hosts, with Alexis MacAllister firing in a powerful long range shot in the 90th minute. De Gea made a terrific save to keep the score line intact, diving to his right to keep out the low scorcher headed for the corner.
Estupinan sent another speculative effort towards the Spaniard saved, and a free kick opportunity led to a corner in the dying minutes, presenting the Gulls with one last big set piece chance. A flurry of chances ensued, with a shot by Mitoma blocked on the goal line and a follow up by Caicedo punched away.
In the chaos of the corner, Luke Shaw was caught for a potential handball while challenging for the ball, and Marriner pointed to the spot after a quick look at the VAR screen.
MacAllister stepped up to take the decisive kick, and calmly sent De Gea the wrong way.
United perhaps deserved more from the match, but they only have themselves to blame for the missed opportunities and lack of control.
Up next is a trip to face West Ham in the London Stadium, where United must get three points against the relegation threatened side or the looming Liverpool will look a lot closer for the final few matches.