(Brentford-Manchester United 1-3) After a two-match injury absence, Cristiano Ronaldo was back among United manager Ralf Rangnick’s eleven selected. Their pressure-pressed United were fought and shot down in the first half – before Swedish Anthony Elanga (19) appeared in the second.
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Manchester United had not had a single finish on Brentford’s goal when the teenager – who as a 12-year-old was admitted to United’s “talent school” – took down a perfect post from teammate Fred with his right foot, then tipped the ball up to his own head and with it bump into the match’s first goal behind Brentford’s Danish goalkeeper.
1-0 to Manchester United in the 55th minute.
Seven minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo – with his chest – twisted a half-length pass from Scott McTominay on to his Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes, at full speed forward in the longitudinal direction of the pitch. Fernandes could have put in 2-0, but instead left the scoring to Mason Greenwood.
Then what was to create the most attention at Brentford’s Community Stadium happened. Ralf Rangnick waved Cristiano Ronaldo off the field, in favor of stopper captain Harry Maguire. Ronaldo was obviously and openly sour as a lemon. Captured by the TV camera, he expressed something like “why me?”
Then Marcus Rashford made it 3-0, elegantly and six minutes after he came into the same swap as Maguire – who replaces Greenwood. Goal-scoring pass, again: Bruno Fernandes.
Ralf Rangnick took the opportunity to answer Ronaldo’s questions.
Brentford hosted Manchester United at their Community Stadium for the first time since 1947. They offered guests a terrific welcome. Already after 14 minutes, Manchester United’s Spanish cage keeper David de Gea literally had to bite the grass, as a result of a violent cannonade from a small number of Brentford many Danish players.
In the 12th minute, Christian Nørgaard played compatriot Mathias Jensen free. He thundered the ball against the net, but in De Gea’s feverish left foot before it got this far.
– So he is doing so well. A sparkling round of De Gea, concluded former national team and Tottenham goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt in TV 2’s expert studio after 45 minutes.
Immediately after Jensen’s “almost”, Mads Bech Sørensen got a similar goal chance. It turned United’s Alex Telles back, and with it he stopped the ball from ending up between the posts right behind him and De Gea.
Meanwhile, Victor Lindelöf had saved United manager Ralf Rangnick from a potentially sad sight in much the same way. True, Manchester United had the ball quite a lot and opportunities to score the first goal of the match. But not really one real scoring chance in the first place.
It was Brentford who owned the fight, by virtue of superior aggression and dueling strength. As then always goal-hungry Ivan Toney in the 32nd minute of play, Mathias Jensen, who again – from short range – finished by “placing” the ball in David De Gea’s straight left foot (again).
Three minutes later, Toney could certainly have made it 1-0.
And then it is worth mentioning that Manchester United was in 7th place in the table before the start of the match, with “the whole world” demands for advancement to secure a top four position – and a lucrative ticket to the Champions League. Newcomer to Brentford? 14th place, with loud fan demands to run the socks off.
– Well done, Brentford. United, you have more to go on, in several areas, said TV 2 expert Erik Thorstvedt as a prelude to the second half.
Cristiano Ronaldo, until then very pale, started it by heading the ball into the top of the crossbar behind Jonas Jössl. As is well known, that chance accelerated United: Elanga, Greenwood, Rashford – from 0-0 to 3-0 in 23 minutes.
– It’s fun to see these goals again, because this was nice, Thorstvedt thought after it was over.
Ivan Toney created very little hope in the hanging line when he after a Brentford-typical throw-in, pass from Nørgaard – as well as Brentford-typical club and babble – reduced to 1-3 five minutes before the end. But it was really over, even with four minutes extra.