Pascal Gross scored the goal which sank Manchester United 1-0 to guarantee Premier League football for Brighton next season.
The German midfielder, Albion’s undisputed player of the year, fittingly hit his seventh goal of the season to take the Seagulls to the magic 40-point mark.
United arrived on the south coast knowing a win would all but seal second place for them, but a desperate disappointing display means they will have to wait to secure the runners-up spot.
👏 FT: Albion will play their football in the @premierleague next season! A second-half header from Gross sees Hughtonâs team secure the points needed to guarantee safety. A brilliant performance from the Seagulls, on a special night at the Amex Stadium. #BHAFC 1 #MUFC 0 #BHAMUN pic.twitter.com/YHIGnV3xx6— Brighton & Hove Albion â½ï¸ (@OfficialBHAFC) May 4, 2018
– Brighton could not hide their relief at the final whistle after securing their Premier League status for next season.
The creative French winger was a constant pest for the United defence and repeatedly drove Albion forward, particularly in the second period.
Pascal Gross headed Albion into a deserved 57th-minute lead with his seventh goal of the season. Jose Izquierdo’s cross from the left was pushed into the air by David de Gea and Gross bravely nodded goalwards before goal-line technology confirmed the ball had narrowly crossed the line, prior to Marcos Rojo hacking it away.
Jose Mourinho made six changes to his starting XI and the decision backfired as his team were outfought and outplayed on their first visit to the Amex Stadium. While the defeat is unlikely to be too damaging for United in their quest to finish second behind neighbours Manchester City, Mourinho will surely be left wondering whether some of his squad’s peripheral players are up to standard. For Chris Hughton’s battling Brighton side it was a significant evening as they mathematically secured their top-flight status with two games to spare ahead of daunting trips to champions City and Champions League finalists Liverpool.
United, already beaten at both Huddersfield and Newcastle, have now lost away at the three promoted clubs for the first time in a top-flight season.
Brighton: Mat Ryan (out of 10) 6, Bruno 6, Shane Duffy 7, Lewis Dunk 7, Gaetan Bong 6, Dale Stephens 7, Davy Propper 6, Anthony Knockaert 7, Pascal Gross 7, Jose Izquierdo 6, Glenn Murray 6. Subs: Beram Kayal (on for Gross, 84) 5, Solly March (on for Izquierdo, 88) 5, Leonardo Ulloa (on for Murray, 90+3) 5.
Manchester United: David de Gea 7, Matteo Darmian 5, Chris Smalling 6, Marcos Rojo 5, Ashley Young 6, Marouane Fellaini 5, Nemanja Matic 6, Paul Pogba 6, Juan Mata 6, Marcus Rashford 5, Anthony Martial 5. Subs: Luke Shaw (on for Darmian, 68) 5, Jesse Lingard (on for Fellaini, 68) 6, Scott McTominay (on for Rojo, 76) 5.
Manchester City v Brighton (Premier League, May 9)
West Ham v Manchester United (Premier League, May 10)