The visitors were the dominant side in the first half, controlling the tempo of the play and fashioning the better chances. For the hosts, springing a swift counter-attack was the most promising outlet as they struggled for cohesion when they were in possession.
However, the momentum swung Manchester United’s way soon after the restart. After Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 51st minute, Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk was sent off two minutes later. The hosts then spurned a few excellent chances even as 10-man Brighton refused to fade away and threatened to snatch an equalizer.
Ultimately, Manchester United’s numerical advantage paid off as Fernandes fired home at the death to secure all three points for his side. The Red Devils thus temporarily move into fourth place in the Premier League table, with the Seagulls a few places further down in ninth.
On that note, here are the Manchester United player ratings from the game.
Manchester United player ratings against Brighton & Hove Albion
David de Gea: 6/10
David de Gea recorded a well-deserved clean sheet. He made three excellent saves to keep a spirited Brighton side at bay.
Diogo Dalot: 7/10
Diogo Dalot made the most tackles (3) of anyone on the pitch and was equally impressive going forward. The full-back was heavily involved in all of Manchester United’s moves that came down the right flank.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
A late inclusion in the Red Devils’ starting eleven, Victor Lindelof slotted seamlessly into the defense and was a calming influence in the side.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
Harry Maguire was a solid presence in the Manchester United backline, confidently dealing with all that Brighton threw at his side’s goal. The skipper also posed quite a threat offensively, especially during set-pieces.
Luke Shaw: 5/10
While his defensive positioning remains a little suspect, Luke Shaw was excellent going forward and provided a great attacking outlet.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
Scott McTominay continues to be a mainstay in the Red Devils midfield, with his tenacity leading to the opener. The Scotsman won more duels (10) than anyone else on the pitch, even picking up a booking late on.
Fred put in an energetic yet erratic performance on his return to the starting lineup. The Brazilian was far too wasteful in possession and gave way to Paul Pogba for the final 20 minutes.
Jadon Sancho: 6/10
Jadon Sancho continues to look increasingly comfortable in the Manchester United shirt, putting in an impressive shift out wide. When he was replaced in the 80th minute, he had completed the most dribbles (5) of anyone on the pitch.
Bruno Fernandes: 8/10
Bruno Fernandes was at his creative best, fashioning five chances (more than anyone else) in the game. He allowed his frustrations to get the better of him at times, picking up a booking for dissent in the aftermath of the red card.
The Portugal international was ultimately rewarded for his tireless efforts with a well-taken goal right at the end of the game.
Anthony Elanga: 5/10
The youngster was a willing runner on the flanks for the Red Devils but was unable to make a more notable impact on the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7/10
Although Cristiano Ronaldo made a decisive impact by bagging the opener in the 51st minute, he also passed up a couple of presentable chances later in the game.
Paul Pogba: 6/10
Paul Pogba shone in his 20-minute cameo, helping Manchester United retain possession and launch attacks with his trademark effortless elegance.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Marcus Rashford provided vital pace and composure on the right wing after coming on in the 79th minute to help his side see out the win.
Alex Telles: 5/10
Alex Telles filled in at left wing for the final 15 minutes as the Red Devils looked to secure the three points.