Manchester - Paul
Pogba celebrated the birth of his first child by scoring a penalty to
help defeat Brighton 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday as Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer became the first Manchester United manager to win his opening
seven games in charge.
Pogba opened the scoring by winning and converting a spot-kick for
his 10th United goal of the season - equalling his best club total in a
The France midfielder followed the goal with a 'cradle rocking'
celebration - an apparent reference to his partner reportedly giving
birth to the couple's first child.
Yet despite an impressive display by Pogba, who almost added a late
third goal with a low shot from just outside the penalty area, it was
Marcus Rashford's moment of brilliance, three minutes before half-time,
that drew the most attention.
The England forward received Diogo Dalot's pass inside the penalty
area and, from a tight angle on the left, used quick feet to turn
outside Pascal Gross before steering a fine shot into the top corner.
It was a fitting way to mark
the academy graduate's 150th appearance for United, and a reminder of
the club's commitment to its youth policy as the club marked the 25th
anniversary of Matt Busby's death.
Busby, the manager who did arguably more than any other at United to
lay down the tradition of bringing through homegrown young players, was
commemorated this week by a mural outside Old Trafford that reads
'Forever Grateful', and there was a minute's applause inside the ground
There followed a somewhat nervy victory to ensure a place in the
record books for Solskjaer, whose winning streak now includes six
successive league victories.
He had suggested that overcoming Brighton would be an even bigger
challenge than beating Tottenham Hotspur six days earlier as it would be
tough to follow up an impressive win at Wembley against a resilient
Brighton's flooding of midfield certainly made life difficult for
United in the game's opening quarter, before Pogba and Rashford put them
Both players are thriving under Solskjaer's management, with Pogba in
particular looking a much more dynamic player, with the freedom to
attack, than he did under Jose Mourinho.
Following an outstanding first touch, Pogba cut in from the right to
win a penalty when pushed over by Brighton left-back Gaetan Bong.
To audible groans from home fans, Pogba stepped up for the penalty
with the stuttering run-up he used in a 2-1 win over Everton in October,
when his weak kick was saved by Jordan Pickford before he converted the
This time, though, he quickly abandoned that technique, striding up
to the ball and striking his penalty into the corner of the net.
Rashford had almost given United the lead just before that, his shot
from Ashley Young's right-wing cutback headed away by Shane Duffy.
He did then score, but only after United had survived a major scare;
Glenn Murray, Brighton's leading scorer, got in behind Ander Herrera on
to Solly March's through pass but lashed wide from eight yards.
Rashford's superb skill looked to have laid the foundations for a
comfortable United win, and early in the second half, his cross was
somehow steered wide by Jesse Lingard.
Anthony Martial then weaved past two Brighton players to hit a shot that dipped just over, but the Seagulls refused to buckle.
Gross gave them hope when he got in front of Dalot, starting after
Luke Shaw was taken ill in the warm-up, to score against United for the
second time this season. Whereas Gross' penalty helped Brighton to a 3-2
win in August, this time it was only a consolation goal, despite a late
flurry of pressure.