Manchester United up to 7th place after brushing Brighton aside

Tom Homewood
Assistant Producer

Manchester United made it five wins from their last six games in all competitions with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Brighton at Old Trafford.

Andreas Pereira gave the home side the lead with the help of a huge deflection off of Dale Stephens, before a Davy Propper own goal doubled their lead just two minutes later.

READ MORE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'We should have scored many more' against Brighton but 'it was a joy to watch'

Lewis Dunk pulled one back for the Seagulls with a powerful header after the break, but the hosts responded instantly with Marcus Rashford smashing in off the underside of the crossbar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side move up seven places to 7th in the Premier League while Brighton drop to 11th.

Rashford celebrates United's third with his teammates (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from United’s midweek win against Partizan Belgrade, with 19-year-old Brandon Williams coming in to make his full Premier League debut. David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Daniel James and Andreas Pereira also started.

Brighton named Shane Duffy and Leandro Trossard in place of Adam Webster and Pascal Gross at Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford had the first chance of the game and it would have been some goal too. The England international received the ball on the left wing, cut inside, beat three Brighton players before his low strike was held by Mat Ryan.

Within a matter of seconds United were in front through Andreas Pereira in the 16th minute. Anthony Martial cut back for the 23-year-old, whose clipped finish took a huge deflection off of Dale Stephens before finding the back of the net with Ryan completely wrong-footed.

United celebrate going in front through Andreas Pereira (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

It was 2-0 two minutes later after Harry Maguire knocked down a free-kick and under pressure from Scott McTominay, Davy Propper bundled into his own net.

There was a lengthy VAR check to see if United’s £80 million defender headed it down or it came off his arm, but the goal was awarded.

Lewis Dunk missed a huge chance to pull one back for Brighton on the half-hour mark, but kneed it wide form close range from a free-kick.

After a quiet start to the second half Williams was shown a yellow card after a nasty looking challenge on Steven Alzate, sticking his studs into his chest.

VAR had a look to see if it should have been a red card instead but backed up referee Jon Moss’ original decision.

Fred woke the Old Trafford crowd up with a thunderous strike from distance that was too powerful for Ryan to take cleanly, fumbling it onto his crossbar before gathering as it came down.

Dunk got Brighton back into the game heading home Pascal Gross’s corner in the 64th minute to make it 2-1.

Dunk wins the header and powers it past De Gea (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

United responded instantly though and restored their two-goal cushion. Fred played in Martial with a fine through ball, Ryan came rushing out, the Frenchman cut back for Rashford and the in-form striker took a touch before smashing it into the crossbar and in.

He should have made it 4-1 three minutes later but somehow put it wide from five yards out after Daniel James put it on a plate for the 22-year-old.

United played out the final moments with 10 men after McTominay limped off injured with the Red Devils having already made all three of their substitutions.

The win and the three points lift United up to 7th in the table, but they remain nine points adrift of the Champions League places.

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