Mason Greenwood’s fine header lifted Manchester United to a 2-1 win over Brighton to strengthen the hosts’ grip on second place.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are now 14 points behind fierce rivals Manchester City and four ahead of third-placed Leicester. Brighton remain in 16th and six points off the relegation zone.
United began brightly under the lights and Greenwood cracked a close-range effort off the woodwork in the eighth minute. But five minutes later and Brighton took a surprise lead.
An excellent cross from the right flank by Neal Maupay found his strike partner Welbeck, who nodded his point-blank header into the feet of Dean Henderson before heading in the rebound against his old club.
The visitors, sensing United’s vulnerability at the back, almost extended their lead in the 18th minute through Lewis Dunk, but the defender’s header was tipped onto the crossbar by Henderson.
United were struggling to deal with Brighton’s 3-4-1-2 shape and looked progressively disheartened as the half went on. United did not fashion out a shot on target in a drab first-half display, encapsulated by Paul Pogba’s sidefooted effort which flew wide.
A minute before half-time Jakub Moder saw his first-time shot deflect off Rashford and roll inches wide of Henderson’s left post.
Rashford’s shot straight at Robert Sanchez in the 52nd minute was United’s first on target.
His second ten minutes later would pull United level. Bruno Fernandes laid it off to his left where Rashford was there in space to place his simple finish into the bottom corner.
United continued to improve, but Welbeck almost put Brighton in front twenty minutes from time when he stabbed a close-range effort at the near post agonizingly wide.
There were appeals for a penalty as the 30-year-old protested he was pushed by Harry Maguire, but referee Mike Dean waved play on after consulting with VAR official Peter Bankes.
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Greenwood, who was United’s most potent threat all evening, scored the winner in the 83rd minute by steering Pogba’s scuffed volley into the net with a smart diving header.