'Football God gave a bit back' to Brentford in dramatic Man Utd draw

LONDON: Brentford boss Thomas Frank said he almost lost faith in football after his side needed a 99th minute equaliser to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 draw despite a dominant display on Saturday.

The Bees hit the woodwork four times among 31 shots – the most they have ever had in a Premier League game.

Yet they found themselves behind when Mason Mount scored his first United goal in the 96th minute.

Even then, Erik ten Hag's men could not hold out as Kristoffer Ajer smashed home to deal another blow to the Red Devils' fading hopes of reaching the Champions League next season.

Victories for Aston Villa and Tottenham earlier in the day upped the pressure on United to respond.

But a draw leaves them 11 points off the top four and eight adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham.

However, it was also the manner of the performance that was just as concerning for Ten Hag on the back of a thrilling 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool in their last outing before the international break.

"Brentford were better than us today. They showed more passion, desire and determination as we did," said Ten Hag. "We have to show more."

It was back to the drawing board for the Dutchman as his team were comprehensively outplayed by a Brentford side that have won just twice in 16 Premier League games.

Brentford famously beat United 4-0 at home last season in Ten Hag's second game in charge with a fraction of the chances they enjoyed this time around.

"There should have been only one winner in the game, that could only be us," said Frank.

"Then you go 1-0 down in the 96th minute and you think football is brutal. I almost lost faith in the football God, but he gave a bit back."

Ivan Toney was fresh from scoring his first England goal in midweek and was keen to further his case to be Harry Kane's deputy at Euro 2024.

The Bees captain scuffed his effort that came back off the post midway through the first half after being played in by Yoane Wissa's fine through ball.

Mathias Jorgensen then headed off the top of the crossbar and Wissa clipped the outside of the post either side of the break.

Rasmus Hojlund had been a virtual spectator up front for the visitors, but he nearly took his one opportunity as a brilliant save by Mark Flekken prevented the Dane from scoring in his seventh consecutive Premier League game.

Even when Toney did finally get the ball in the net, he had strayed fractionally offside when slamming home a cross from substitute Bryan Mbeumo, who then crashed a blistering shot off the crossbar.

Frank could barely believe his misfortune when in a rare foray forward from United, Casemiro teed up Mount to ease the pain of his injury-plagued season since a £55 million ($69 million) move from Chelsea.

Yet, the home side were still not beaten as Toney's close control and vision set up Ajer to claim a point that at least takes Brentford five clear of the relegation zone. --AFP

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