[Sport] Manchester United 2-1 Brighton: Greenwood completes United comeback

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Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were on target as Manchester United came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Brighton 2-1 in the Premier League.

Danny Welbeck returned to haunt United with a deserved opening goal for the Seagulls in the first half at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Second-placed United raised their game after the break, though, and the fit-again Rashford marked his return with a well taken equaliser.

Greenwood, also passed fit after recovering from an injury, headed home the winner seven minutes from time to stun the Seagulls in the absence of Anthony Martial, who could be out for the season with a knee problem.

Victory for the Red Devils strengthened their grip on second place, 14 point behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, while Brighton are six points above the drop zone.

Greenwood came close to an early opening goal when he left fly with his right foot and rattled the near post.

It was Brighton who were ahead 13 minutes in.

Welbeck met Neal Maupay’s inviting cross and, although Dean Henderson saved his initial header with his feet, the forward nodded home at the second attempt from point-blank range.

Henderson, preferred to David de Gea, prevented the well-drilled Seagulls from doubling their lead soon after by tipping Lewis Dunk’s towering header against the crossbar, while Jakub Moder’s deflected strike flashed wide just before half-time.

Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez raced off his line to deny Bruno Fernandes as United improved after the break and the Portugal midfielder was the architect for a 62nd-minute equaliser.

Fernandes raced towards the penalty area and rolled a perfectly weighted pass to his left for Rashford, who found the far corner of the net with a measured right-footed finish.

Welbeck came agonisingly close to putting Albion back in front when he failed to finish from close range under pressure from Harry Maguire, who was not adjudged to have upended the ex-England frontman.

Greenwood sealed the points with only his second Premier League goal of the season, showing predatory instincts to nod in from close range when Paul Pogba’s miscued volley spun towards him.

What does it mean? United closing in on Champions League spot

United failed to register a shot on target in the first half, with Brighton not resembling a team in danger of losing their top-flight status.

Whatever Solskjaer said at the interval did the trick, as they rallied to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 matches. United are 11 points clear of fifth place Tottenham with eight games to play and a Champions League place looks to be in the bag.

Brighton were impressive in the opening 45 minutes but failed to secure a first win at Old Trafford and, although they have a game in hand over third-bottom Fulham, Graham Potter’s side have work to do in order to preserve their Premier League status.

Persistence pays off for Greenwood

Greenwood has not managed to hit the heights that he did last season, but the teenager showed what he is capable of in a lively display.

The forward doubled his Premier League tally for the season with a decisive header, having also scored in an FA Cup defeat to Leicester City last time out.

Greenwood had five shots, hitting the target twice and striking the upright in the first half.

Cavani on the margins

While Rashford and Greenwood made their mark with Martial on the sidelines, the same cannot be said of Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguay striker did not muster a solitary shot and had only 17 touches as he was starved of service.

Key Opta facts

– United have beaten Brighton twice in the Premier League this season despite conceding first in both games, only the second time they have done so against an opponent in a season, also achieving this against Southampton in 2012-13.
– The Red Devils have won 25 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, nine more than any other side. Albion, meanwhile, have dropped 20 points from winning positions, three more than anyone else.
– Solskjaer’s side have won eight Premier League games after conceding first this season – only Newcastle United in 2001-02 and United themselves in 2012-13 have won more such games in a single season (nine each).
– Welbeck became the first player to score as many as three Premier League goals against Manchester United after having appeared for the club in the competition. His other two goals against them came for Arsenal in February 2016 and May 2017.
– Only Wayne Rooney (15) and Rashford (13) have scored more Premier League goals as teenagers for Manchester United than Greenwood (12).
– Fernandes has been directly involved in five goals in three Premier League appearances against Brighton (three goals, two assists). Fernandes has been involved in more Premier League goals since his debut than anyone else (42 – 24 goals, 18 assists).

What’s next?

United travel to Granada for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, while Brighton have to wait until a week on Monday until they are back in action with a home clash against Everton.

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