An own goal from Lewis Dunk was the difference at Old Trafford as Manchester United managed to beat a resilient Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester United 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 0
Gross tests de Gea
Ryan denies Lukaku
Dunk own-goal breaks deadlock
Rashford limps off
Brighton started the game well, with Anthony Knockaert causing a lot of problems for the United defence whilst Mathew Ryan made a good double save before half-time to keep the contest on level terms.
Eventually it was Ashley Young who forced the opener as his shot deflected off Lewis Dunk into the back of the net with the effort going down as an own goal against the defender.
Brighton had a much stronger start to the game as Knockaert tried to exploit the home-side on the counter attack following a bad effort from Romelu Lukaku. The winger played a good one-two with Pascal Gross to get behind Ashley Young before flashing his effort across goal.
Gross then tested David de Gea just after the 10-minute mark but it was comfortably saved by the goalkeeper as the Seagulls continued to dominate.
United, on the other hand, had to wait 25 minutes before they tested Ryan as Juan Mata whipped in a good cross to Lukaku, who sent a tame header towards Ryan that was never troubling him.
United should have scored on the brink of half-time when Ryan pulled out a great double save to block a powerful header from Lukaku at close range, before somehow managing to keep out Paul Pogba who was there with a follow-up effort.
The second-half started with a marked improvement from the hosts as Jose Mourinho’s men began to find their way into the contest, but Brighton’s stubborn defence continued to keep them at bay.
However, the opener came for United through an own goal from Lewis Dunk. Young picked up the clearance from a United corner and his shot took a big deflection off the Brighton defender to see the ball loop straight into the top-right corner.
Dunk had a chance to redeem himself with as a good break almost gave him a chance to get one back. The defender played off a one-two, receiving the ball in between the United defence, but rushed his shot which allowed Chris Smalling the chance to make the crucial block.
Marcus Rashford then had to be replaced by Marouane Fellaini and went off with a slight limp which will be a big concern for United fans given the number of fixtures to play in the coming weeks.
It was far from a polished performance by the home side but an important victory for Mourinho as United continue to try catch neighbours, Manchester City, who remain five points ahead on top of the table with a game in hand.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 25, 2017