Man United ride luck to seal important win at Brentford

January 19, 2022 Brentford's Ivan Toney scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters

Manchester United rode their luck before burying luckless Brentford with a second-half goal blitz to claim a 3-1 away victory on Wednesday and boost their challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

A United win did not look likely as Brentford dominated the first half but the visitors were clinical after the break with goals by Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford securing a flattering victory.

Brentford should have been comfortably ahead by halftime but spurned numerous chances with Mathias Jensen twice denied by the outstretched leg of United keeper David De Gea

They were made to pay for their profligacy when Elanga nodded United in front in the 55th minute.

Greenwood tapped in from a counter-attack seven minutes later and substitute Rashford rifled in his side's third in the 77th minute to leave Brentford stunned.

Ivan Toney pulled a goal back from close range with five minutes remaining but it was scant consolation for the hosts who slumped to a third successive defeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to United's starting line-up after recovering from injury but was subdued and reacted angrily after being substituted in the second half.

United remained in seventh spot but moved level on 35 points with sixth-placed Arsenal and are only two behind West Ham United who occupy fourth.

Brentford are 14th, 10 points above the bottom three.

There was a buzz of anticipation around Brentford's impressive Community Stadium with the west London club hosting United for the first time 1947 -- the crowd warming up a chilly night with a rendition of their "Hey Jude" anthem.

Thomas Frank's side have acquitted themselves well against the big boys in their first Premier League campaign, beating Arsenal, drawing with Liverpool and unluckily losing to Chelsea.

They battered United in the first half too as another memorable night looked on the cards.

Jensen, one of five Danes in the Brentford starting line-up, twice had the goal at his mercy but on both occasions his side-footed efforts were saved by De Gea.

Mads Bech Sorensen also had a goalbound shot blocked by Bruno Fernandes while Vitaly Janelt had a sight of goal for Frank's side during an intense spell of pressure.

Ronaldo was a virtual spectator and the closest United came before the break was a swerving effort by Diogo Dalot that flew agonisingly wide of the post.

United started the second half with more urgency and a Ronaldo header from Fernandes's cross glanced the crossbar.

Brentford went straight back on the counter-attack and Jensen was again foiled by De Gea.

United struck when Fred's lofted ball found Elanga whose first touch flicked the ball up for him to head past Bees keeper Jonas Lossl who was handed a first Premier League start.

Ralf Rangnick's side doubled their lead when Ronaldo chested the ball off Fernandes who squared to give Greenwood the easiest of tap-ins.

Rashford's superb finish sealed the points before Toney at least gave the home fans something to cheer.

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