Alexis McAllister lifted Brighton to sixth in the Premier League by converting a dramatic extra-time penalty to see off Manchester United’s Champions League hopes. Argentina’s World Cup winner slotted the ball into the top left-hand corner nine minutes beyond the regulation 90 after Luke Shaw was penalized for handball following VAR intervention. Albion’s 1-0 win at the exciting Amex Stadium puts them above Tottenham and Aston Villa, while leaving United looking over their shoulders at fifth-placed Liverpool. The Seagulls sit four points behind Jurgen Klopp’s Reds with two games in hand thanks to the stunning late turnaround. Brighton’s success partly avenges the heartbreak they suffered at the hands of their opponents in the FA Cup semi-final 11 days ago and completes a double over United. The Seagulls also broke their top-flight club points tally – moving to 55, three more than they managed in the 42-game 1981-82 season. Antony and Anthony Martial wasted golden opportunities for United, who still have work to do to reach Europe’s premier club football competition next term after a painful climax. Before Mac Allister finally came forward, Kaoru Mitoma missed the Seagulls’ best opening on a fierce tackle, smashing the ball into David De Gea’s head during a quick start. United keeper De Gea’s stop was clearly uncharacteristic but he was deemed fit to continue after treatment on the pitch.
With much at stake in the battle for continental quality, players from both sides went head-to-head in a heated second half after Antony’s raw challenge on Mac Allister sparked a frenzy.
United traveled to Sussex with bitter memories of Wembley still lingering in the minds of the high-flying hosts. The frantic early exchanges suggested there would be no such 0-0 draw, with both sides having great chances. Antony burst wide after Bruno Fernandes’ pass carved through the Albion defense inside two minutes, before Mitoma intercepted Victor Lindelof’s unhitched pass and ran clear to push his effort past De Gea as Julio Enciso was waiting to tap into. Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi shrugged off the illness that caused his pre-match press conference to be canceled to take his place on the touchline. The Italian was his usual animated self and made a passionate appeal for a penalty when Mitoma went to ground after minimal contact from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s outstretched leg. United, beaten 4-0 at this ground last May, remained dangerous on the counter-attack and caused constant problems for the home defense as they created the best chances in the first half. Casemiro headed narrowly past Erik Ten Hag’s men, while Brighton keeper Jason Steele produced smart saves to deny low efforts from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Travelers fans once again unveiled a ‘Glazers out’ banner before kick-off as ongoing protests against their club’s ownership continue. But the sold-out end would have provided plenty of motivation from the opening 45 minutes. Rashford fell easily inside the Brighton box just after the restart before the hosts enjoyed a period of dominance, although he initially created little. Casemiro, who was booked earlier for tripping Mac Allister, managed to get a yellow goal in the 65th minute for a foul on the same player. The home fans then felt they had been wronged when Mitoma went down in the penalty area for a second time, before the post ended after Brazilian Antony headed home fellow South American Mac Allister, which which left a booking for United man and Brighton captain Lewis Dunk. Casemiro went off, and Fánáin replaced Solly March, who missed the decisive spot-kick at Wembley, much to the public’s attention, and De Gea superbly denied Moises Caicedo when he looked to be in the clear. with an exciting relationship. But Shaw handled a corner inexplicably and, after referee Andre Marriner consulted the pitchside monitor and called attention to the spot, McAllister thumped home.
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