Manchester United secured a first win of the Premier League season with an incredible 3-2 triumph at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Reds went behind to a cheeky Neal Maupay penalty in the first half but quickly levelled through a Lewis Dunk own-goal. In a dramatic second half, full of VAR controversy and near-misses, Marcus Rashford hit a beautiful goal which had looked set to be the winner.
That was until Solly March nodded an injury-time leveller and, after the final whistle had sounded, a handball was awarded to allow Bruno Fernandes to stroke in the 100th-minute winner from the spot.
There were three changes to the XI who started against Crystal Palace last weekend, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood introduced in place of Tim Fosu-Mensah, Scott McTominay and Daniel James.
The home side started confidently, with Leandro Trossard hitting both posts. In the ninth minute, he struck David De Gea’s right-hand upright and, 12 minutes later, another smart effort came back off the base of the opposite post, with De Gea beaten.
Albion went close again when Dunk looped a header onto the top of the bar, even if De Gea appeared to have it covered. It finally spurred United into life and a slick move involving Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Rashford led to Mason Greenwood rifling past Mat Ryan, but Rashford had strayed offside in the build-up.
A penalty was then awarded when Bruno Fernandes tripped Tariq Lamptey as he raced onto an Adam Lallana pass. Maupay beat De Gea with a Panenka-style chip but it prompted a reply from the Reds. Only 194 seconds later, Fernandes’s free-kick to the back post was touched back in by Nemanja Matic and Dunk got the final touch, under pressure from Harry Maguire.
The game restarted in dramatic fashion with referee Chris Kavanagh pointing to the spot again when Aaron Connolly tumbled under Pogba’s challenge. VAR requested Kavanagh review his decision on the screen and he decided the contact was initiated by the Seagulls striker.
It was United’s turn to be denied by VAR when Rashford found the net on 52 minutes but was in an offside position. Soon afterwards, the England international did get one that was always going to count, sprinting onto a gorgeous pass from Fernandes into space, twice dummying Ben White and calmly finding the corner of the net, via a slight deflection.
On the hour, there was a reprieve when March was left unmarked inside the box but was thwarted by a post and the woodwork saved United yet again when Trossard belted a drive against the bar, when a flowing Brighton move cut through the defence.
In injury time, with the hosts still pushing, Trossard was left clear on goal inside a crowded box but could only fire straight at De Gea, who made a vital save. Yet March looked to have salvaged a point when he was free again inside the box and nodded a Alireza Jahanbakhsh centre past De Gea.
There was still time for Maguire’s header to hit Maupay’s hand and, although the final whistle had sounded, referee Kavanagh again checked the monitor and pointed to the spot. Fernandes did the rest, maintaining his 100 per cent record from 12 yards since joining the club, calmly beating Ryan to settle the craziest of finales.
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