Leeds United 1 Manchester City 1 – Wily Bielsa shows his former pupil Guardiola how it’s done
The Red Devils will go down in history as the first team ever to score a winning goal AFTER the final whistle had gone, with Bruno Fernandes’ penalty in the 10th minute of injury time securing all three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they ran out 3-2 winners at Brighton on Saturday (SGT).
It was a cruel blow for Brighton. They had been the better side throughout the game and even hit the post no less than five times, leading some to joke about how United’s chief executive Ed Woodward would soon be changing his name to Ed Woodwork.
At the end of the day however, it was a VAR call and Fernandes penalty that helped the visitors secure all three points as well as embarrass the guai lan (irritating) Brighton striker Neal Maupay.
WATCH: Solskjaer reacts to United’s late victory over Brighton
Line-up: With the exception of centre-back Eric Bailly, Solskjaer named probably his strongest available side, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood all chosen to start after sitting on the bench last week.
Victor Lindelof kept his place in the side despite his horror show against Crystal Palace last weekend, while new signing Donny Van de Beek remained on the bench.
10th minute: Brighton hit the woodwork (1)
The narrative of the match is set in the opening 10 minutes as a lively Brighton side fashion the first real chance of the game as Leandro Trossard hits the upright with a fierce shot from the edge of the box. It’s not great defending from United, whose midfielders failed to put any pressure on Trossard, which allowed him to get his shot away.
21st minute: Brighton hit the woodwork (2)
It’s Trossard who hits the woodwork again! From almost an identical area outside the box, the unluckiest 25-year-old in the world fires a low shot that beats David De Gea, but clips the outside of the post and heads out. Again, the United midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Matic and Fernandes are bypassed too easily by Brighton.
30th minute: Brighton hit the woodwork (3)
Things get even more ridiculous as Brighton hit the woodwork for the THIRD time in half an hour. Thankfully for Trossard, he’s not the guilty party this time. A free-kick from Solly March finds its way to Maupay, who sends a looping cross back into the box which Adam Webster gets his head to. The ball flies in slow-motion over De Gea, who just manages to tip it onto the top of the cross bar.
33rd minute: GOAL! Or not. Greenwood scores…but it’s disallowed.
For the first time in what seems forever, Brighton do not hit the woodwork. Instead, it’s United who go up the other end and show them how it’s done by putting the ball into the back of the net through Greenwood. Great work by Martial, who beat his marker with a clever shimmy in the middle of the pitch, before setting up Marcus Rashford on the left, who squared it for Greenwood to tap it home. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, the goal is disallowed because Rashford was offside.
38th minute: PENALTY! Lamptey gets tripped in the box by Fernandes
Where Fernandes is, a penalty is sure to follow. So it proves as Brighton wing-back Lamptey bursts into box down the right and is tripped from the back by Fernandes, who looks aggrieved and tries to insinuate that Lamptey dived. It’s not that comfortable when the shoe is on the other foot, is it? Replays show that the award of the penalty is the right decision.
39th minute: GOAL! Maupay scores a cheeky Panenka, then annoys United fans
Maupay steps up to take the spot-kick and coolly chips it down the middle. He then does the ‘Crybaby’ celebration, much to the irritation of United fans everywhere.
43rd minute: GOAL! Dunk scores…at the wrong end
Brighton’s lead lasts barely five minutes. A free-kick is floated into the Brighton box to the back post, where Matic is lurking. The Serbian plays the ball back into the box and it hits both Maguire and Dunk on the way into the net. It’s ruled as a Dunk own goal, but Maguire celebrates it like he was the one who scored it. It ends 1-1 at the break but there has been no doubt that Brighton have been the better side in the opening 45 minutes. Will United be able to play better in the second half?
47th minute: PENALTY! But VAR comes to United’s rescue
Brighton begin the second half on the front foot as Aaron Connolly runs into the box and initiates contact with Pogba. Connolly falls to the ground under minimal contact and referee Chris Kavanagh points to the spot. But VAR has other ideas, and advises Kavanagh that it shouldn’t be a penalty because Fernandes wasn’t around. Kavanagh checks the pitchside monitor, ascertains that Fernandes was indeed nowhere to be found and overturns the decision to award a penalty.
53rd minute: GOAL! Wait a minute…disallowed again!
United launch a rare attack and finally manage to connect with their passes in the final third. Rashford applies the finishing touch to a flowing team move but it is correctly ruled out for offside.
55th minute: GOAL! No denying Rashford this time!
Rashford will NOT be denied his goal! The England international is set free on left flank, he cuts inside onto his right foot and leaves Ben White on his bum, shapes to shoot before checking back to his left, leaving White on his bum for a second time, before firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Beautiful goal, not least because it caused White to turn red...with embarrassment. Ha ha.
60th minute: Brighton hit the woodwork (4)
The woodwork comes to United’s rescue AGAIN! Maupay finds March free on the left of the penalty area and slips in the wing-back, who takes a touch and angles a shot into the far corner. To nobody’s surprise, it hits the post and the ball rolls across the face of goal. Another let-off for United.
77th minute: Brighton hit the woodwork (5)
This must be some kind of record! Brighton hit the woodwork for the FIFTH time as Trossard wallops the balls against the crossbar after getting onto Alireza Jahanbakhsh cross-field pass. This means Trossard has now completed a hat-trick of crossbar challenges and he should really consider buying today’s lottery, considering how ‘lucky’ he has been in this game.
96th minute: GOAL! A late equaliser for Brighton!
BRIGHTON EQUALISE! Unbelievably, the hosts draw level deep into stoppage time with March again left unattended on the left to head home Jahanbakhsh from close range. Brighton celebrate wildly and who can blame them? It’s no less than they deserve for their efforts.
98th minute: FULL TIME! Brighton earn a deserved dra…WAIT A MINUTE! PENALTY TO UNITED!
INCREDIBLE DRAMA! Maguire heads a corner towards goal but, Brighton manage to clear their lines. Kavanagh blows the whistle to signal the end of the match as the Brighton players begin celebrating their hard-earned point. Just then, VAR comes to United’s rescue and tells Kavanagh to award the visitors a penalty for a handball against, you guessed it, ‘Crybaby’ Maupay.
Replays show that Maguire’s header did indeed hit the arm of Maupay, and that the award of the penalty was the right call. Fernandes steps up and coolly dispatches the spot-kick in the 10th minute of stoppage time to secure the unlikeliest of victories for his team.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for Brighton, who outplayed their more illustrious opponents throughout the game. They could easily have thrashed United but for their failure to hit the target instead of the woodwork. It’s a precious three points for United, but Solskjaer cannot possibly hope to get into the top-four, let alone challenge for the title, this season if his team continues to play the way they did.
There is no doubt United desperately need reinforcements if they are to achieve their goals this season. Over to you then, Ed Woodwork.