Match Report: Man Utd 2-0 Brighton: Ronaldo ends drought as Red Devils go fourth

Ronaldo celebrates his first goal of 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes were on target as Manchester United saw off 10-man Brighton and Hove Albion in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils climbed into the top four of the Premier League thanks to a pair of second-half strikes from the Portuguese duo.

Ronaldo ended a run of six matches without a goal when he broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, shortly before Lewis Dunk saw red for Brighton.

And Fernandes wrapped up the points following a quickfire counter deep into stoppage time as the visitors chased a dramatic equaliser.

Brighton had never won away at Old Trafford in their previous 13 visits. However, they made a bright start and David de Gea was called into action with a smart save to deny Jakub Moder after Anthony Elanga was caught in possession outside the United box.

At the other end, Robert Sanchez also demonstrated sharp reflexes to thwart Jadon Sancho after the England international had latched onto Ronaldo’s clever backheel.

But the Seagulls continued to carry the greater threat during Graham Potter’s 100th Premier League game in charge and De Gea once again came to the rescue to keep out Moder’s goalbound header, while Yves Bissouma shot narrowly wide.

The pendulum swung in United’s favour six minutes after the restart. McTominay robbed Bissouma of possession and the ball broke kindly for Ronaldo, who drove forward before drilling a powerful shot into the bottom corner.

Within three minutes, Brighton were reduced to 10 men; Dunk given his marching orders following a consultation with VAR after bringing down Elanga.

The hosts went in search of a second goal; Sanchez doing well to deny Fernandes and Ronaldo, who also headed wide from close range.

Meanwhile, Moder went agonisingly close to a Brighton equaliser; rattling the crossbar from distance while former United striker Danny Welbeck missed with a late close-range header.

With Brighton pressing in the dying moments, the Red Devils ruthlessly countered with Fernandes sealing the deal after being set up by substitute Paul Pogba.

What does it mean? United back to winning ways

United were booed from the field at half-time, having enjoyed just 41 per cent of possession and registered only three shots to Brighton’s eight.

But the hosts were much-improved after the break as they ended a run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Ronaldo is back

It had been 47 days since Ronaldo’s last Premier League goal in the 3-1 win over Burnley.

However, the Portugal skipper ended the drought in style with a wonderful strike early in the second half.

His goal came from one of a game-high five shots on goal, while only compatriot Fernandes (five) bettered his tally of three key passes.

Bissouma impresses

While their wait for a first away league win in Manchester goes on, there were plenty of positives for Brighton to take from their performance, including the solid display of Bissouma in the middle of the park.

The Mali international led the way for the visitors with four tackles, three clearances and gaining possession 10 times, while no player for either side topped his tally of six interceptions.

What’s next?

The big games keep coming for United. They face rivals Leeds United in the Premier League on Sunday, before travelling to Spain for their Champions League last 16 first leg against Atletico Madrid.


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