Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Brighton ensure Premier League survival with win

AFP, BRIGHTON, England

Brighton & Hove Albion’s Bruno Saltor, right, kicks the ball in front of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard in their Premier League match in Brighton, England, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday secured their place in the Premier League next season as Pascal Gross’s solitary goal inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Manchester United.

Just more than two weeks ahead of the FA Cup final against his old club Chelsea, United manager Jose Mourinho made six changes and was punished as Brighton recorded their first win over the Red Devils since 1982.

Chants of “We are staying up” rang around a packed house at the American Express Community Stadium at the final whistle as victory moved Brighton up to 11th and, more importantly, eight points clear of the bottom three.

The theme to the World War II movie The Great Escape also rang around the stadium as the players celebrated after an epic effort.

With third-bottom Southampton and 17th-placed Swansea City to meet on Tuesday, Brighton now cannot now be relegated.

By contrast, defeat means United must wait to secure second place, as they remain five points clear of Liverpool with Tottenham Hotspur a point further adrift.

United were without Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, whose firepower was missed as Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford failed to make the most of rare chances to start up front.

The visitors did have the ball in the net after just four minutes, when Marouanne Fellaini turned Rashford’s free-kick in from close range, but the Belgian was rightly flagged for offside.

As United secured a top-four finish by beating Arsenal 2-1 last weekend, Brighton’s more desperate need for the points shone through.

Lewis Dunk bravely put his head in the way of a powerfully struck effort from Rashford, but then presented possession to the English international on the edge of his own box moments later.

However, Rashford’s indecision in failing to pick out Martial or go for goal himself summed up a frustrating night for United. with Mourinho quick to show his discontent on the sidelines.

Brighton’s survival party had been put on hold by a run of seven games without a win.

Goals have been hard to come by for Chris Hughton’s men in their first season back in the top flight in 34 years.

However, they got the helping hand they needed from the goal-line technology system to seal another campaign in the Premier League on 57 minutes.

Dangerous Jose Izquierdo got to the byline, and when his cross was parried by De Gea, the ball crossed the line from Gross’ header by the finest of margins before being hooked clear by Marcus Rojo.

LA LIGA

AP, MADRID

Sevilla returned to the UEFA Europa League qualification zone after beating Real Sociedad 1-0 in La Liga on Friday.

Ever Banega scored on a penalty-kick early in the second half to help the hosts end a nine-match winless run in all competitions.

Sevilla jumped from eighth to seventh in the standings, the final spot for the Europa League. They are three points behind sixth-place Villarreal, who yesterday were to host Valencia.

Sevilla have a game in hand, against Real Madrid at home.

Real Sociedad remained 10th, five points behind Sevilla.

It was Sevilla’s first match since firing coach Vincenzo Montella for poor results.

Joaquin Caparros, who coached the team in the early 2000s, is to be in charge of the squad until the end of the season.

LIGUE 1

AFP, PARIS

Moussa Konate on Friday scored both goals as Amiens twice fought back to hold French champions Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-2 draw and guarantee them a place in Ligue 1 next season.

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