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Match report: Brentford 1-3 Manchester United

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United have beaten Brentford in the Premier League in what was a game of two halves.

An impressive first half performance from David de Gea kept the scoreline at 0-0 whilst three products of United’s academy helped them over the line in the second half.

Brentford made a good start, in the first five minutes they had a good spell of possession and it was clear the home side meant business.

United had a few set pieces but they didn’t really threaten in the opening ten minutes.

It was David de Gea who was forced into the heroics first as in the 13th minute Brentford went on the attack. He stopped a certain goal, pushing it out with his left hand and made a brilliant stop with his leg too.

United looked nervy and the home-team sensed it and exploited it. However, an unlikely chance came for United from Diogo Dalot who fired from outside the box but it curled just wide.

A good free-kick from Fernandes was defended well by Brentford’s defensive line and United couldn’t do anything with the resulting corner.

It was Brentford’s turn to attack. With United’s defence a mess, Mathias Jensen found himself one on one with De Gea, the Spaniard proved to be United’s hero once more.

The follow up took a deflection and De Gea was relieved to see it go just wide.

Of the outfield players, it was probably Anthony Elanga that gave United the most hope, he was finding space and showed promise going forward.

In the second half, United had the first chance as Ronaldo got his head onto a corner but could only find the crossbar.

Brentford could counter attack following the corner and United’s high line looked set to be punished as it was two vs one, but once again De Gea was there to keep it at nil – nil.

It was the youngster Elanga who finally made the breakthrough for United, that hunger and passion he played with in the first half finally paying off. Fred saw his run and Elanga controlled it well with his foot before heading it home.

1-0 was not secure though as Brentford never gave up.

Aware they needed to sure things up, United took their chances. A beautiful chest pass from Cristiano Ronaldo found Bruno Fernandes, despite having a clear chance of scoring himself, he unselfishly passed to Greenwood who had held his run nicely and buried it in the back of the net.

Aware that United let a two goal lead slip against Aston Villa recently, Brentford still didn’t give up and this time it was Varane who blocked a shot from Ivan Toney.

But United weren’t done either, they were enjoying their football again and substitute Marcus Rashford, who has faced criticism in recent weeks, held his line and came up with a wonderful finish, blasting it into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

But with six minutes to go Brentford found a lifeline. From a long throw, the ball pinged around the penalty area before Ivan Toney poked it through the sea of blue shirts and into the goal.

United needed to hold their nerve but a free kick for Brentford had United hearts in their mouths. Four minutes of injury time ensued.

United held on for a much needed victory on the road and it was thanks to three academy stars who got their names on the scoresheet.

Team: de Gea, Telles, Lindelof, Dalot, Varane, Greenwood (Rashford 71), Fernandes, McTominay (Matic 85), Fred, Ronaldo (Maguire 71), Elanga

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