Manchester United’s chances of winning the Champions League were dashed as Brighton won a nail-biting penalty shootout in the 99th minute to maintain their European aspirations.
At the Amex Stadium, Alexis Mac Allister scored a goal in the last seconds to end a Premier League nail-biter. United, who now holds the fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth, is still four points clear of Liverpool in fifth place but no longer has a game in hand.
Additionally, Brighton deserved this victory for their persistent play, which saw a penalty awarded after a video assistant referee review after Luke Shaw handled the ball with seconds remaining in the game.
Brighton’s euphoria after the final whistle contrasted strongly with the dejection of their FA Cup semifinal loss to United on penalties at Wembley less than two weeks ago. Brighton is currently only four points behind Liverpool, who have played two more games.
Brighton performed with vigour after their 6-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wolves. After the break, Kaoru Mitoma missed another excellent opportunity after shooting straight at David de Gea while clean through, with Danny Welbeck also missing the mark.
Excellent Brighton’s goal is European football
The amazing scenes of celebration at the final whistle underlined the enthusiasm and excitement coursing through the club, which is down to Brighton’s exhilarating attacking style under manager Roberto de Zerbi.
Brighton will be an entertaining addition if they do make it to Europe. They demonstrated their ability to go forward after losing to United at Wembley by pursuing their worn-out rivals late in the game.
Although this game was decided by a slim margin thanks to that late penalty, Brighton’s pace and intensity can occasionally be described as pure theatre. In the end, it just proved to be too much for United.
Argentinian World Cup champion Mac Allister defied pressure and the noise to easily defeat De Gea and excite the Brighton crowd, and how they relished watching De Zerbi take his victorious teammates on a victory lap after the final whistle…
Despite Brighton’s superiority, Steele, their main goalkeeper, was still highly depended upon and excelled when necessary. In their next game, struggling Everton is set to visit Brighton, and in this frame of mind and performance, Brighton will surely feel capable of defeating anyone.
Man United’s away game worries continue
Manchester United is still well-positioned to finish in the top four and earn a spot in the Champions League, but there is no denying that their average away performances are putting them under pressure.
Even though they forced Steele to work hard, they suffered their sixth loss in 17 games. As Brighton manager De Zerbi and his entire backroom staff demanded a penalty in the final seconds, the inevitable was confirmed when VAR invited referee Andre Marriner to review the situation, and Shaw appeared to be a very guilty man at that point.
United had their opportunities, but Steele was in excellent form, and their issues came when it seemed like they ran out of energy in the second half. Martial missed one of those chances but otherwise put up a lifeless, underwhelming display, so it was expected that he would ultimately be substituted.
United are now sure to know their margin for error has been limited by this loss when they travel down to London to face West Ham United this upcoming Sunday.