Brighton 1-0 Man Utd: Mac Allister nets stoppage time penalty

Alexis Mac Allister smashes home dramatic 99th minute penalty to seal a 1-0 win for Brighton against Man United and avenge their FA Cup semi-final loss… with visitors missing the chance to go third

  • Mac Allister fired in after Luke Shaw was penalised for a handball via VAR check
  • Manchester United left to rue wasteful finishing at the Amex Stadium
  • Brighton’s push for a European spot takes a major boost following incredible win 

For a while this was an evening to celebrate the rare glory of a fabulous 0-0 draw. No goals, no movement towards where these sides want to be, but a treat of brilliant madness nonetheless. Scoreless would have been fine in those circumstances.

And then, five minutes into stoppage time of a bonkers match, a referral went to the VAR. Luke Shaw appeared to handle at a corner, and Andre Marriner, who had given Brighton so little all evening, went to the monitor.

The penalty was given. And of course it was.

The crowd called for Solly March, whose missed kick in the FA Cup semi-final last month undid a dream. But that would be too neat and probably too much pressure for the winger.

So no, instead it was the Argentine, Alexis Mac Allister. David De Gea went right. The kick went left to the top corner.

Alexis Mac Allister scored a last gasp penalty to help Brighton defeat Manchester United 1-0

Luke Shaw had conceded a stoppage time spot-kick for a careless handball under pressure

From the spot, Mac Allister blasted the crucial winning goal in the ninth minute of added time

It won’t exorcise the agonies of a Wembley semi-final defeat, but it will certainly help.

It will help Brighton on their mission to end a superb season with European qualification. It will also help Erik Ten Hag sharpen his conviction that he needs a new striker, and most likely Harry Kane after a night in which his side had 16 shots and no goals.

But a United win would have been harsh on Brighton. They were excellent when they weren’t fallible. They controlled the game, had the best chances, and were a delight. That said, United played their part but as with so many away games this season, they fell short.

When it was done, Roberto De Zerbi went berserk. He waved like a madman. He has been unwell in recent days and nearly missed this one. As it happens, he rocked up on the mildest of evenings with a scarf around his neck, and left looking like he had done himself more harm than good. At least he had a good time doing so.

Rotating back to one of his stronger configurations, Ten Hag made four changes to the side that beat Aston Villa at the weekend. That meant returns for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Antony and Anthony Martial.

De Zerbi made the same number of alterations to the XI that butchered Wolves 6-0 last weekend. It enabled starts for the crucial trio of Moises Caicedo, Kaoru Mitoma and Mac Allister, as well as the 18-year-old playmaker Facundo Buonanotte.

Brighton celebrate in front of fans after giving their hopes of reaching Europe a major boost

Kaoru Mitoma’s shot in the opening moments was saved by David de Gea using his face

The United keeper needed treatment following the save – being checked for concussion

The Spaniard though was passed fit following four minutes down needing treatment

Brighton’s late pressure eventually paid off in a deserved victory – graphic from Sofascore

The upshot of all that tweaking? An opening half that was gloriously messy, featuring a number of excellent chances and a delightful battle between Mitoma and Wan-Bissaka.


BRIGHTON (4-2-3-1): Steele 7.5; Caicedo 5.5, Webster 7, Dunk 7, Estupinan 6; Gilmour 6 (Colwill 75min, 6), Mac Allister 7; Enciso 7, Buonanotte 6.5 (March 63, 6), Mitoma 7; Welbeck 6 (Undav 75, 6).

Scorer: Mac Allister 90+9 (pen).

Booked: Webster, Dunk, Colwill, Caicedo.

Manager: Roberto De Zerbi 7.

MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): De Gea 7; Wan-Bissaka 6.5, Lindelof 5, Shaw 7, Dalot 6.5; Casemiro 7, Fred 6.5 (Sabitzer 76); Antony 6 (Sancho 76), Fernandes 7, Rashford 6.5; Martial 5.5 (Weghorst 84).

Booked: Casemiro, Dalot, Antony, Shaw.

Manager: Erik ten Hag 6.

Referee: Andre Marriner 5.5.

Attendance: 31,577.

The first of many big moments went to United inside 75 seconds, with the attack sprung when Danny Welbeck played Billy Gilmour into an awkward 50-50 with Bruno Fernandes before the latter, having snatched possession, countered with a through ball for Antony. One-on-one with Jason Steele, he clipped narrowly wide.

A moment later, Victor Lindelof botched a pass across his own area to Wan-Bissaka, allowing Mitoma to intercept for a clear run at goal. Ignoring the option to square to Julio Enciso, the Japanese winger blasted straight into the face of De Gea. An opportunity wasted and several minutes of treatment followed for the keeper.

In the subsequent blur of errors and anxieties, Mitoma sidestepped Wan-Bissaka and missed the target, appealed without success for a soft penalty against the same man, and each of Mac Allister, Enciso and Buonanotte drilled or curled strikes wide. At the other end, Marcus Rashford twice had drives blocked and Anthony failed to find decent finishes to good moves.

Both benches were tetchy about the inefficiencies, but it was brilliantly compelling viewing, especially the exchanges between Mitoma, one of those revelatory signings Brighton make so often, and Wan-Bissaka, whose revival this season has seen him develop into such a reliable, renowned winner of duels. Through 45 minutes, Mitoma and Brighton were shading it without any tangible outcomes.

United? Too regularly their approach seemed limited to targeting Rashford up the left and hoping for some individual magic against Caicedo, a midfielder repurposed as a right back. De Zerbi was a little fortunate across the first half that such a dynamic didn’t go against him.

Buonanotte opened the second by launching over the bar and Enciso also had one blocked by Wan-Bissaka after a sleek tip-toe through a crowd of United defenders. A third chance of the period was logged when Diogo Dalot had a pass intercepted by Mitoma, whose dart into the area was rounded off with a shot sliced wide of the near post. Within minutes he was through again, albeit at a tight angle, and mishit to De Gea.

It was a fiery encounter with Antony involved in a second half scrap with Brighton players

The United winger and Lewis Dunk squared up to each other leading to both being booked

Anthony Martial had United’s best chance of the first half, being denied by Jason Steele (right)

Mitoma was a lively presence on the left flank for the Seagulls as a prominent attacking force

United’s defeat came via the latest ever goal they have conceded in the Premier League

If his finishing improves, he might well be the next Brighton player to attract a raid. In fact, even if it doesn’t there will be plenty of admirers and no shortage of temptation.

With the pressure growing, De Zerbi looked for fresh impetus by bringing on March, whose missed penalty was the decisive act of the Cup semi-final. He was also growing increasingly frustrated with Marriner, who spared Casemiro a second yellow for going to ground in fouling Caicedo and then overlooked a second penalty appeal by Mitoma.

That took the tension up a notch and it escalated when Lewis Dunk and Antony squared up and bumped chests. Marriner handed out yellow cards to each but was in danger of losing control.

Still the chances came. March and Mac Allister went close. So too did Adam Webster in stoppage time. Nothing made it through. Until Marriner made the trip to the VAR monitor and Mac Allister got his revenge for Wembley.

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