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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Old Trafford

Brentford's European race suffers a blow after 1-0 defeat at Manchester United

By Alessandro Schiavone at Old Trafford

Manchester United 1-0 Brentford

Ambitious Brentford’s European hopes suffered a setback as Marcus Rashford’s first-half goal made sure of matters for Manchester United at a rainy Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. 


It was only the sixth defeat of the campaign for Thomas Frank’s Bees who could have moved up to within four points of today’s opponents had they added to their impressive reverse fixture win.


Yet more than bombarding Manchester United's goal, Frank’s plan this time was to first shut up shop and maintain order, then see if they could get a tune out of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney on the break. But following up that 4-0 trashing from seven months ago was always going to be a far-fetched idea, regardless of the hosts' recent slump.

So, despite almost perfectly containing Manchester United, it all led nowhere in the end.


Because Kevin Schade lacked the Midas touch when, through on goal, he fired at De Gea.


But Brentford lost the game in the opening 45 minutes when they passively sat off the hosts at M16 with their only chance being a backwards header by Toney. 


But despite their superiority in all areas of the pitch facing the hard-to-beat Bees, who mercilessly trashed them 4-0 in London in August, was always going to be difficult.


Yet Erik ten Hag’s well-oiled machine was desperate to get Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United out of their system as their energetic early dominance showed.  


The first chance of the game was squandered by Scott McTominay, who blasted a volley over after a good pullback from Antony. Minutes later, the Brazilian ex-Ajax player went for it himself, but his bending effort flashed on the wrong side of David Raya’s post.  


Unsurprisingly, the in-form Rashford didn’t need a second invitation when Marcel Sabitzer, who was picked out by Antony in the crowded box, sublimely headed the ball across for him to fire home in the 27th minute. 


That was the English international’s 15th Premier League goal of the season. 


Brentford started the second half with more vigour and purpose but didn’t produce much. 


In the end and despite their test of character, Brentford return to London with zero points in their luggage.


If only Schade had sat down de Gea with a feint or lifted the ball over him when through on goal after brilliantly speeding past Varane, they’d be taking a golden point back to the capital. 


But on the evidence of play, the hosts deserve to end up on the winning side as they were on top from start to finish. 


But credit to the Bees for staying in the game until the final whistle. 

Man United  1 De Gea- 6 Lisandro Martinez- 8 Fernandes- 10 Rashford- 15 Sabitzer- 19 Varane- 20 Diogo DaLot- 21 Antony- 23 Shaw- 25 Sancho- 39 McTominay  

Brentford  1 Raya- 3 Henry- 5 Pinnock- 6 Norgaard- 8 Jensen- 16 Mee- 17 Toney- 17 Jansson- 19 Mbeumo- 24 Damsgaard- 30 Roerslev 


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