Cristiano Ronaldo inspires waste for Reds to win Brighton but McTominay is the weak point

CRISTIANO RONALDO inspired Manchester United in a crucial 2-0 win over Brighton.

Portuguese, 37 years old, end his goal drought with a powerful run and finish – but missed two close-range headers that sent the game out of reach.

Cristiano Ronaldo takes the lead and scores the goal for Manchester United


Cristiano Ronaldo takes the lead and scores the goal for Manchester UnitedCredit: Getty
Bruno Fernandes got the goal his performance deserved with the seconds remaining


Bruno Fernandes got the goal his performance deserved with the seconds remainingCredit: Getty
Scott McTominay is in trouble again - sometimes even blocking Ronaldo's way


Scott McTominay is in trouble again – sometimes even blocking Ronaldo’s wayCredit: PA

United struggled in the first half and relied heavily on counter-attacking to create chances – more energy and effective pressure led to the opener and then a red card for Lewis Dunk.

There was still much for Ralf Rangnick to work on as Bruno Fernandes missed an easy chance before he added a second late, but the midfielder was a threat throughout and Brighton were unable to stop him.

United’s biggest concern remains midfield, with Fred and Scott McTominay fouling the ball too often.

Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot also struggled under Brighton’s high press at times but a determined defensive performance – and kept the first clean sheet in four games – gave Red Devil three precious points put them in fourth place.

Here’s how SunSport’s Kealan Hughes rates United’s display.

David de Gea – 8/10

Kept United in the game with two excellent saves in the first half, especially the second from Jakub Moder’s header.

Not much to do but gave him a chance won United’s player of the year award.

Diogo Dalot – 6

Attempting to deal with the high Brighton defence, and many of his long balls proved to be rather indiscreet.

But he has kept Brighton’s left wing relatively quiet despite Anthony Elanga struggling to stop Marc Cucurella’s threat.

Victor Lindelof – 6

Arrived late after Raphael Varane fell ill in the warm-up and let Neal Maupay outplay him in moments of possession, despite his physical advantage.

Harry Maguire – 7

Was questioned by fans recently but still performed well despite Varane’s absence.

Can be criticized for dribbling too slowly but this error-free performance will give him more confidence.

Luke Shaw – 5

Like Dalot on the opposite flank, he sometimes tries to play attacking from behind, although United’s midfield can also be blamed for not providing more options.

Moving forward more often with the opening game late in the game but unlike the same players who performed so well last season.

Scott McTominay – 4

Yves Bissouma played better in the first half but he caught the Brighton midfielder in Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener.

However, he will always fail to provide the creativity United need on the ball, and the difference in composure displayed between him and Paul Pogba when the Frenchman entered the field highlighted the gap. about quality.

Fred – 5

Another player looked much more lively after half-time after carelessly letting the ball go many times early on.

He’s much more effective when it comes to engaging players and needs to do that in the first place – although to be fair, he has missed recent games due to Covid.

Jadon Sancho – 7

It looked dangerous on a counter-attack but United should have taken the lead for the first ten minutes.

Aside from Bruno Fernandes, he is the most dangerous player on the pitch and needs the ball more often – but that’s been a problem throughout United.

Bruno Fernandes – 8

Tried to get his team on the front foot but it was an ungrateful task at times due to Brighton’s midfield overwhelming the Red Devils.

He missed a great opportunity to put the game to bed with 20 minutes remaining but redeemed himself by firing a shot in United’s second, more or less final kick of the game.

The attacking midfielder really came to life as the game dragged on and he put the ball up for Ronaldo to score only for the No. 7 to head wide.

Anthony Elanga – 5

Tried to get in, but against a nasty opponent in Cucurella had a very good game.

But he did make a key contribution to helping United gain control, handing the ball away from Lewis Dunk, who resulted in a foul on Elanga getting him sent off.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8

Looks frustrated with teammates again after missed opportunities in the first half.

So he solved his own problem shortly after half-time, facing a couple of Brighton defenders before kicking the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.

But he could have had a hat-trick with two headers – one was brilliantly saved by Sanchez but the other he flashed out when he really should have found the back of the net.

Sub – Paul Pogba (replacing Fred, 73) – 6

Made an immediate impact off the bench with Fernandes’ blocked shot before coming on with a beautiful pass.

Good ball control, which was exactly what was needed, laid the groundwork for Fernandes to attack in search of a second goal, which finally arrived in compelling seconds.

Marcus Rashford (for Elanga, 79 years old) – 5

Unable to influence the match even though the game opened and its closing action suited his playing style.

Alex Telles (for Sancho, 80 years old) – 5

Was brought in to tighten the defense with Rangnick wanting to avoid losing another goal and did what was required of him.

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