In what was a rollercoaster ride from Amex on Thursday night, Brighton extended their famous European attack to pull off a remarkable 1-0 victory over Manchester United on its last breath.
Despite a heartbreak in the FA Cup semi-final at the hands of United on 24 April, Roberto De Zerbi’s men got their revenge here when midfield talisman Alexis Mack Allister converted a stunning penalty in the 99th minute from a handball from Luke Shaw in the last few seconds. .
While the Seagulls may have ended up taking all three with the last kick of the game, Brighton were a more than deserved winner here and they certainly deserve all the applause they will get.
Having won each of their last three consecutive Premier League meetings against former champions, Brighton have also capitalized on a Manchester United team that continues to show some recent internal troubles outside of Old Trafford.
Still without the defensive partnership of Lisandro Martínez and Rafael Varane when they went to the Amex, Erik ten Hag’s side largely failed to find much fluidity in the final third here, and they have now won just one of their previous six away matches in 90 minutes.
On the evening that Brighton took a huge step towards an emotional place in Europe, we covered the main topics of discussion in Thursday’s lively Premier League battle.
De Zerbi train shows no signs of slowing down
While many around Amex may have been saddened to see Graham Potter move to Chelsea back in September, the Seagulls have only gone from strength to strength since they welcomed De Zerby to Amex as Potter’s full-time replacement.
While most of the headlines will be drawn by United’s latest second-half collapse, it’s extremely hard to argue that Brighton didn’t deserve a win that could secure a prominent place in Europe.
While Thursday’s hosts may have been stunned on 26 April when they suffered a 3-1 away defeat to relegated Nottingham Forest, they certainly proved that the game was nothing more than a minor flare in their impeccable track record.
Only by continuing to shine on both sides of the March international break has the former Sassuolo boss seen his high-flying team break into the top six, and they still have at least a game in hand over the teams around them.
Ahead of Thursday’s season-defining showdown after beating lackluster Wolves for six on home soil last weekend, Brighton will look to make another statement when they host a struggling Everton in town on Monday night.
Brighton should get a fortune for Mac Allister
While the likes of Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma may have continued to spearhead Brighton’s legendary European attack this season, there is no doubt that their World Cup winner has become a symbol of the Seagulls’ success.
Exploding from the spot with almost the last punch of the game and sending the Amex support into overdrive, Brighton made it crystal clear that they were ready to move mountains trying to keep Mac Allister on the south coast.
However, after putting in another dominant performance on Thursday night and quickly becoming one of the Premier League’s preeminent midfield stars, it looks like De Zerby’s side have resigned themselves to the fact that the 24-year-old is ready for a new challenge this summer.
Real history is being made in Qatar in the winter: the former Bocca Juniors star helped Argentina to their first world crown since 1980, Mac Allister has scored nine Premier League goals this season and the Brighton mascot has a number of fans.
Along with constant references to a potential move to Old Trafford, The Times reported earlier in the day that Liverpool had placed Mack Allister at the top of their summer wish list.
Tens headache away from Old Trafford
While Manchester United may have broken hearts in the FA Cup semi-final in Brighton last month, the ten Hag side were more than aware they faced a huge challenge when they headed to the Amex on Thursday night.
While the Premier League giants may still be in a winning position to claim a return to the top four this season, the former Ajax boss will have a growing headache over his team’s lingering problems away from Old Trafford.
While the visitors may have ended up beating Brighton at Wembley in the middle of the week after a breakout penalty shoot-out, the Red Devils have only managed to win one of their previous six away matches in 90 minutes.
Coming under scrutiny on April 20 as they watched their Europa League adventure come to an abrupt end after a 3-0 win over Sevilla, the top four contenders will still know they have work to do.
Not much time to feel sorry for yourself, United will next be seen on their travels when they head to the capital on Sunday night.
As he prepares to face a West Ham side still struggling for their Premier League status, ten Haag will know that achieving much-needed stability over the past few weeks is critical.
Brighton: Steele, Caicedo, Dunk, Webster, Estupinan, Gilmore, Mac Allister, Buonanotte, Enciso, Mitoma, Welbeck
Subscriptions: Colville, Marsh, Undave
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Shaw, Dalot, Fred, Casemiro, Anthony, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Subscriptions: Weghorst, Sancho, Sabitzer
Goals: Mac Allister (90+9′ P)
Yellow cards: Brighton: Caicedo, Dunk, Webster, Colville – Manchester United: Dalot, Shaw, Anthony, Casemiro
Red cards: N/A
Judge: Andre Marriner