Brighton & Hove Albion 4 Manchester United 0
Goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard gave Albion one of the greatest victories in their 121-year history.
From the moment Caicedo arrowed a drive past David De Gea after benefiting from Marc Cucurella’s cross and Alexis Mac Allister’s blocked shot, Albion turned frequent possession into absolute domination.
The Seagulls were just too much for United to deal with for the first half. Robert Sanchez only touched the ball with his feet for the first half an hour.
When United did get forward Cristiano Ronaldo spurned a couple of chances then saw his well-positioned free kick sail over the bar. He then got booked for a petulant foul on Lewis Dunk.
Albion had chances to double their lead in the first half, with opportunities falling to Danny Welbeck who saw one effort fly just over the bar with De Gea stranded.
Solly March was playing out of his skin – then again, so was every player.
It was impossible to tell which club had won the Premier League 13 times and were four-time European champions and which club, just 25 years ago, finished in 91st place and didn’t even have a stadium.
Albion’s second-half performance could be a contender for the greatest in the club’s 121-year history – as the Seagulls had Manchester United penned back on their own half for long periods.
Trossard teased and tricked Diogo Dalot and played the ball into the box where Cucurella scythed his foot through a shot which beat De Gea all ends up to double Albion’s lead.
Juan Mata saw an effort well saved by Albion keeper Robert Sanchez in a rare United foray towards the Albion goal.
The Seagulls sensational crisp passing was causing United all kinds of problems – Sanchez launched a perfect 50 yard pass to the feet of Cucurella, he found Trossard who threaded a pass to Gross who side-stepped Raphael Varane and angled an effort into the bottom corner for 3-0 and sent the Seagulls fans behind the goal wild with delight.
Hardly a breath was drawn or a pulse checked before another Albion attack Gross released Danny Welbeck, his chipped effort over De Gea got held up and Trossard, with Dalot in close attention, bundled the ball home for four.
The scoreline equalled Albion’s top-flight record win and the most ever goals scored against Manchester United, a sort of revenge for that night in May 39 years ago – although it took VAR two minutes to confirm Trossard hadn’t handled.
Then they were at it again. Gross and this time Alexis Mac Allister combining with a great one-two that saw Dalot just touching the ball on to the post with a lunging leg to prevent 5-0.
The Amex erupted and Albion took their foot off the gas.
United had a few passages a of possession – Sanchez saved brilliantly from Bruno Fernandes twice and Edison Cavani saw an effort disallowed for offside.
As Albion found their mojo again, Gross and Welbeck brought good saves out of De Gea.
Ronaldo found space to fire two efforts woefully wide before the end as both Lewis Dunk and Joel Veltman threw themselves at every ball that United hoofed forward.
Poor old Ralf Rangnick. The peculiarly titled Manchester United ‘interim’ manager sat slumped on his dugout seat for long periods. The former Sussex University student and Southwick FC player looked like he’d rather be at Old Barn Way.
Before the end every Cucurella flick and Gross turn was treated with an ole. – Welbeck saw an effort go inches wide for that magical record breaking fifth.
Of 31,000-plus fans in the stadium, most stayed to create a wonderful atmosphere at the end – as the players ran an impromptu lap of honour.
Twenty-five years and four days after surviving at Hereford, Brighton and Hove Albion were simply jaw-dropping brilliant.
Albion go to Leeds next weekend (15 May) where a defeat for the hosts against the very in-form Seagulls could be very damaging indeed.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.