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United's Rasmus revival continues as Hatters battered, Brighton twist knife on Blades

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18th February, 2024
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Rasmus Hojlund has scored twice in the opening seven minutes and Manchester United withstood a spirited fightback to hang on for a 2-1 win at Luton and a fourth straight Premier League victory.

That kept United in sixth, six points clear of Brighton who inflicted a 5-0 home defeat on Sheffield United, the latest hammering suffered by the league’s bottom club. 

Dane Hojlund extended his scoring streak to six straight league games when he seized on a defensive howler to net the opener after just 37 seconds – United’s quickest away goal in Premier League history. He added the second with a slice of luck as a shot deflected off his chest and into the net to quieten the home crowd at the smallest stadium in the Premier League.

But Luton’s Kenilworth Stadium – which seats just over 11,000 – was soon raucous again as the hosts responded with Carlton Morris pulling a goal back with a close-range header in the 14th minute.

However, the hosts failed to capitalise on a number of chances and hit the crossbar in injury time as United clung on for a win that puts them three points behind fifth-placed Tottenham.

“We are dropping too deep and we lost a bit of focus maybe because it was so easy in the first 10 minutes,” United manager Erik ten Hag said. “We can’t afford this especially against a side like Luton. They have really upped their trend in the last few weeks.”

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At Bramall Lane Sheffield United were reduced to ten men after 12 minutes when Mason Holgate – on loan from relegation rivals Everton – was sent off for a lunge at Karou Mitoma.

Within 12 more minutes Brighton were 2-0 up, with goals from Facundo Buonanotte and Danny Welbeck.

After a 75th-minute Jack Robinson own goal Simon Adingra, back from wining the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, added two late goals.

It was the fifth time this season the Blades had conceded five or more, including twice to Brighton who, having won 5-2 in the FA Cup, have now scored ten goals in two visits to Bramall Lane in 23 days. 

“It was a mistimed tackle and the correct decision was made,” Sheffield manager Chris Wilder told BBC when asked about Holgate’s challenge .

“Mason has to take the responsibility that his decision has hurt us and the gameplan goes out of the window after that.”

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