A Bruno Fernandes penalty in the 100th minute earned Manchester United the most dramatic of 3-2 victories at Brighton, who hit the woodwork a record five times at the Amex and still somehow lost.
Brighton were much the better side in the first half and, after hitting the woodwork three times, they got themselves in front, with United conceding a second penalty in as many games, dispatched with an audacious Panenka by Neal Maupay.
However, United levelled just 194 seconds later, with Lewis Dunk putting through his own net and, after United survived another scare when referee Chris Kavanagh overturned his decision to award Brighton another penalty, Marcus Rashford raced clear to score a fantastic second for United in the 55th minute to complete the turnaround.
Trossard then sealed the perfect woodwork hat-trick as he hit the crossbar, before Solly March looked like he had snatched a point at the death, only for United to be awarded a penalty by the VAR, after the full time whistle had blown, with Fernandes settling the most enthralling of counters 10 minutes into added time.
Marcus Rashford had given United a 2-1 lead
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Brighton’s energy caused United all kinds of problems early on, with Trossard seeing two fine strikes coming out off either post, before an Adam Webster looping header hit the top of the crossbar.
Trying to respond to their surprise defeat in their season opener against Crystal Palace last week, United were sluggish in the extreme, and a clumsy tackle from Fernandes on the impressive Tariq Lamptey saw United concede a penalty for the second successive game, with the uber-confident Maupay doing the rest.
A below-par Paul Pogba then thought he had conceded another penalty when he bundled Aaron Connolly to the floor, but VAR decided Connolly had made the first contact and the decision was overturned.
Rashford then took centre stage as he raced clear, twisted and turned, before firing his first league goal of the season, only for normal service to resume: Brighton raining in shots on the United goal.
It looked like it wasn’t going to be Brighton’s day, until March arrived at the back post, unmarked, to head home in the 95th minute, before United went straight down the other end and won a corner.
Harry Maguire headed for goal, the ball seemed to flick Maupay’s arm, but the referee blew for full time. However, in something beyond Fergie Time, Kavanagh pointed to the spot after advice from the VAR, and Fernandes, in nerveless fashion, did the rest. What a game.
Win masks dreadful Man Utd performance, again. That was something else. The win is big one for United after their shock defeat to Palace last week, but the result doesn’t tell anything like a true tale of what happened at the Amex.
Brighton hit the woodwork five times in this game, the most any team has done in a single Premier League game since Opta started recording this data in 2003-04, finishing the match having had 18 (EIGHTEEN) shots at goal, and still lost.
Paul Pogba struggled at Brighton
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United, in truth, were really poor. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was all over the place the back, Victor Lindelof was out of position all the time, while Paul Pogba could not string more than two successful passes together.
The post-mortem will be a long one, but massive improvement is needed if United are going to get anywhere near the top four.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leandro Trossard. Seems strange to give the man who missed the most chances man of the match, but when it is just a lick of paint between you and a hat-trick, having caused United problems all afternoon, Trossard deserves it. No United player stood out, and on another day, Trossard would have been steering Brighton to a deserved win.
Brighton: Ryan 6, Lamptey 8, White 7, Dunk 5, Webster 6, March 7, Alzate 8, Lallana 6, Trossard 8, Connolly 6, Maupay 6. Subs: Gross 6, Jahanbakhsh 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Wan-Bissaka 4, Lindelof 4, Maguire 5, Shaw 5, Matic 6, Pogba 3, Fernandes 7, Greenwood 6, Martial 4, Rashford 6... Subs: Bailly 6, Fred 6, Van de Beek N/A.
9’ - POST! Out of nowhere, Leandro Trossard has a snap shot from the edge of the penalty area with his left foot, it beats David de Gea, but comes out off the post.
21’ - POST AGAIN! It is that same man Trossard, as he drags a powerful shot across De Gea, beats the Spaniard again, but it clips the foot of the post and goes wide.
37’ - PENALTY TO BRIGHTON! Fernandes on Lamptey. Very clumsy challenge. The VAR Simon Hooper is having another look, but looks like it will be given.
40’ - GGGGOOOOOOAAALLLLLl!!!! Brighton 1-0 Man Utd. A PANENKA FROM MAUPAY! Incredible scenes at the Amex. Under pressure! His third goal of the season, in cheeky fashion.
43’ - GGGGGOOOOOOAAALLLLLL!!! Brighton 1-1 Man Utd. Maguire on hand to get United back level with a captain's goal! On replay, it could be Lewis Dunk who gets the last touch, but United will not care one bit. Huge goal, with redemption for Fernandes after conceding the penalty. It really was a super cross from a free-kick, Matic steered the ball back into the middle, before Maguire, or Dunk, taps home.
47’ - PENALTY TO BRIGHTON AGAIN! Pogba bundles Connolly to the floor. Unheard of that United concede this many penalties! Referee Chris Kavanah has been asked to come and have a look at the pitchside monitor. The VAR may think Connolly leaned across and initiated the contact. NO PENALTY! Referee Kavanah changes his decision, and takes away the yellow card for Pogba. Probably the right call.
55’ - GGGGOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLl!!! Brighton 1-2 Man Utd. WHAT A GOAL FROM RASHFORD! Super finish to put United in front. Rashford races onto the long pass down the left, cuts inside, throws a dummy to put Ben White on the deck, before again twisting and turning and firing into the net. Great, great goal.
60’ - POST! AGAIN! United get out of jail, again! Great football from Brighton to work the ball to March, who fires for the bottom corner, De Gea sticks out a leg but cannot get there, but again, the post saves the visitors. So lucky.
77’ - ON MY WORD! CROSSBAR AGAIN! It is a hat-trick of woodwork denials for Trossard, as he lashes another effort onto the crossbar. That is both posts and crossbar now.
90+4’ - SAVE! Cometh the hour, cometh David de Gea. That man Trossard again, he spins in the penalty area, pokes for goal, but De Gea saves with his knees.
90+5’ - GGGOOOOOAAALLLLL!!! Brighton 2-2 Man Utd. What drama! March arrives at the far post to head an late, late equaliser. A rare goal for March, but that is the least they deserve. Poor marking from Fernandes at the far post, as he lets March go, who heads past De Gea.
90+ 7 - BUT WAIT! More drama! Maguire heads for goal from a corner, but the ball seems to hit Maupay on the arm. Penalty????? PENALTY! Chris Kavanah had blow for full time, but VAr tells him that Maupay had handled, and it is penalty! What a game!
90+10’ - GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! Brighton 2-3 Man Utd. Fernandes wins it for United with a superb penalty.
Manchester United have won each of the last four Premier League meetings with Brighton, their joint-longest winning streak against a current top-flight side (also 4 v Leicester).
Since the start of last season, Manchester United’s Premier League games have produced 20 penalties, the most of any team in that time (15 for, 5 against).
Manchester United have given away a penalty in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since March 2009; it's the first time the Red Devils have conceded one in both of their first two games to a Premier League campaign.
Since his Premier League debut in August 2017, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk has scored five own goals in the competition, at least two more than any other player.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has been involved in 17 goals in his 16 Premier League appearances (9 goals, 8 assists).
Bruno Fernandes' goal for Manchester United at 99:45 is the latest scored in the Premier League since Juan Mata's strike for Chelsea against Norwich in August 2011 (100:03).