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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester United: Reds miss out on Europe despite win on final day

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Manchester United’s 2023/24 Premier League campaign is thankfully over after a 2-0 win on the south coast. Diogo Dalot and Rasmus Hojlund scored in the second half to give the Reds a win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a club-worst eighth-place finish in the league table.

United will miss out on all three European competitions for the first time since 2014/15.

The win was United’s second in a row after a 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. There was a slim chance of jumping over the Magpies in the table, but Brentford needed to help out the Reds if that was to happen. The Bees made a late push but Bruno Guimaraes finished the job in a 4-2 win for Newcastle.

United didn’t exactly play well in the first half, once again going over 20 minutes without registering a single shot. They did hold their own at the back though and bought themselves time to find an avenue forward. It predictably came via the long ball when Hojlund knocked a pass down for Dalot to finish past Steele. It was against the run of play, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a match where that wasn’t the case most of the time this season.

Hojlund finished the Seagulls off with his second goal in as many matches, taking the ball past a couple of defenders before calmly placing a low shot past the keeper in the 88th minute. Like many of his goals this season, he had to do the setup work himself, which could be a promising sign ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Final.

And so another season is in the books, and it’s United’s worst in 31 years of Premier League football. There’s a slim chance to salvage something on Saturday, both the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League qualification. They’ll have to do it against a Manchester City team supercharged by 115 allegations of Financial Fair Play violations.

Just don’t let them score inside the first minute again…

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