Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Manchester United goal in seven games to lead the Red Devils to a 2-0 win over the ten men of Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
Manchester United came into the game low on confidence and belief after their struggles in the league in recent weeks that included them losing to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.
The Red Devils started the game in a passive manner as they allowed Brighton to control a good amount of territory in the opening exchanges. The Seagulls created the better chances and should have been ahead in the 39th minute.
A cross from Joel Veltman was met by the head of Polish midfielder Jakub Moder, but the Brighton man was thwarted by a typically excellent save from the reigning Premier League Player of the Month David de Gea, who flung himself at the header which looked destined for the top corner.
Brighton would come to run their failure to convert their chances as Cristiano Ronaldo struck in style to open the scoring for the Red Devils in front of their own fans.
Brighton midfielder Yes Bissouma was too casual in possession and was caught napping by Scott McTominay, who prodded the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo from between the legs of Bissouma. The 37-year-old forward took two touches to set himself up for the strike before arrowing an unstoppable effort into the corner of the net from outside the box in the 51st minute.
It was his first goal of 2022 and his first for the team having failed to score in his six previous matches. The last time Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in six consecutive matches was in 2009.
Brighton saw their chances of equalising dim further as captain Lewis Dunk saw red just three minutes after they went behind. The Englishman fouled Anthony Elanga just as the youngster was running through on goal.
Manchester United held on before going on to add a second at the death. A quick freekick from Paul Pogba released Bruno Fernandes to run at Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez while the entire Brighton side were in the other half of the pitch. Using Cristiano Ronaldo as a diversion, Bruno successfully sold a dummy to the goalkeeper before slotting home into an empty net to secure the points for Manchester United, who now move up to fourth on the log.