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Men's Football De Gea saves days as United weather first half Bees swarm

Brentford 1-3 Manchester United
by Gene Sylvester

at Brentford Community Stadium

AFTER an eventful week on and off the pitch, Ralf Rangnick brought his troops down to the Brentford Community Stadium to take on a team looking to bounce back from two defeats in their last two games.

But despite Brentford creating enough clear cut chances to put the game out of sight during an impressive but frustrating first half for the home side, Manchester United were able to turn the tide in the second half with three goals to see off the home side in a 3-1 victory.

It was Thomas Frank’s team who went into the break the more disappointed, having not been able to capitalise on a plethora of first-half chances.

The Brentford boss was not coy about how he felt the first half had played out.

“I think we destroyed them in the first half and could have been 2-0 up at the break. They were unbelievably lucky. The way we smashed them in the first half is fantastic.”

The fact of the matter is that Brentford could have been 3-0 up after 15 minutes, such was the early pressure they put on United, with the away side not registering a shot on target in the whole of the first half.

The main culprit was Mathias Jensen, who failed to convert at least two opportunities that saw him bearing down one on one with David De Gea.

Unfortunately for Frank and his team, Jensen’s attempts at goal were both too close to the United keeper, with De Gea saving both times with his feet.

The second half was a different story altogether. Rangnick’s team were able to stem the flow of attacks they had endured during the first half and started to apply their own pressure.

Youngster Anthony Elanga notched his second Premier League goal of his career after his outside in run from the left wing was found expertly by Fred’s lofted ball in behind the Brentford defence.

The young winger’s first touch, perhaps fortuitously, popped the ball up into the air, allowing Elanga to then place a simple nod past the onrushing Jonas Lossi in the Brentford goal.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Manchester United staged a breakaway move which started with a chipped ball into Cristiano Ronaldo from Scott McTominay, which the Portuguese chested down majestically into the path of his compatriot Bruno Fernandez, who ran away from the Brentford defence.

The United captain when faced with only Lossi to beat in the Brentford goal, squared unselfishly to Mason Greenwood who slipped the ball into an empty net.

Substitute Marcus Rashford ended the match as a contest, scoring the away team’s third, and his first since October, after latching onto a Fernandez through ball to fire high into Lossi’s net.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney prodded home an 85th-minute consolation goal, but the attempted fightback had come too late for the Bees.

After the match, Rangnick acknowledged that his team had ridden their luck in the first half and that he had much to thank his keeper for.

“Without David it would have been difficult to be level at half time.”

The Manchester United interim manager also had to field questions about Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted in the 71st minute.

“Christiano was not happy to come off, but when we scored our third goal, I mentioned to him that maybe when you are a coach you will understand making these kind of decisions.”

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