Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes scored the goals as Manchester United moved into the top four with a 2-0 win over 10-man Brighton.
The Seagulls were by far the better side in the opening 45 minutes, dominating possession with all their typical energy and determination.
And only the brilliant David de Gea kept out Jakub Moder by twice saving from the 22-year-old, the second effort a spectacular dive as Moder leapt highest to meet Leandro Trossard's inch-perfect cross.
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Jadon Sancho had United's only effort in the first half, his dink failing to beat Robert Sanchez in a lacklustre period up top for the hosts.
But it was Ronaldo who came to the fore in the second period, picking up the ball in the Brighton half and - after jinking past four defenders - lashing the ball home from outside the box to give United a surprise lead on 51 minutes.
And things went from bad to worse for the visitors as a minute later Lewis Dunk was sent off after bringing down Anthony Elanga as the forward bore down on goal.
Thereafter Fernandes somehow failed to double United's lead as he struck straight at Sanchez, while Ronaldo sent a header narrowly wide too.
Moder struck the crossbar ten minutes from time as the Seagulls threatened an equaliser, before Fernandes popped up deep into stoppage time to make the game safe.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robert Sanchez (Brighton). On the losing side but single-handedly kept Brighton in the game until the final seconds. Produced two world-class saves as Ronaldo and Fernandes went close.
United finally get over the line. A precarious 1-0 lead seemed all too familiar territory for United but for once, they held on for the win.
Yes, it took heroics from David de Gea, and for Brighton to go down to ten men, and for Danny Welbeck to miss a glorious chance to equalise in the 90th minute.
But United are into the top four and fighting - and could've had a few more goals were it not for the brilliant Sanchez and some very dodgy finishing.
United: De Gea 8, Shaw 7, Lindelof 6, Maguire 7, Dalot 7, Fred 6, McTominay 6, Fernandes 7, Sancho 8, Elanga 8, Ronaldo 8. Subs. Pogba 6, Rashford 5, Telles 5
Brighton: Sanchez 9, Cucurella 7, Dunk 5, Webster 7, Veltman 7, Bissouma 8, Mac Allister 6, GroB 6, Moder 7, Trossard 7, Maupay 5. Subs. Lamptey 7, Alzate 5, Welbeck 5
40 - WHAT A SAVE! WHAT. A. SAVE! One for the De Gea scrapbook. Moder leaps highest to a Trossard cross but his header is clawed away by a diving De Gea. It's such a difficult save but he even manages to get it clear.
51 - GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1 BRIGHTON 0 (Ronaldo). That's what he can do! Out of absolutely nowhere Ronaldo picks the ball up in midfield, jinks to the right to take four Brighton defenders out of the game before absolutely smashing into the net from outside the box. He knows exactly where the goal is.
52 - DUNK BOOKED! It's all kicking off now. Elanga gets the better of Dunk at the back and the defender has to drag him down. Huge shouts for a red from basically everyone in red inside the ground.
55 - DUNK SENT OFF! The ref has had a look at VAR and changed that card! It's RED!
90+7' - GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 2 BRIGHTON 0 (Fernandes, 90+7). Brighton give the ball away at the back and Fernandes has all the space in the world to run into before smashing past Sanchez. GAME OVER!
Ronaldo put an end to his longest scoring drought in over a decade with his second-half opener.
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