Brentford’s Ajer scores late goal to deny Manchester United

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Screenshot 2024 03 30 222659
Premier League – Brentford v Manchester United – Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain – March 30, 2024 Brentford’s Kristoffer Ajer scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Kristoffer Ajer scored in the ninth minute of injury time as Brentford snatched a dramatic draw against Manchester United in an incredible finish at the Gtech Community Stadium.

The equaliser came three minutes after Mason Mount thought he had snatched the win for the visitors with his first United goal.

But they could not hold on for victory and this draw damages the Red Devils’ slim hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Ivan Toney, who scored his first England goal in the 2-2 draw with Belgium on Tuesday, was involved in the build-up to the equaliser, with his pull-back converted by Ajer as the Bees secured a deserved point after hitting the woodwork four times.

Toney shot against the inside of the post before Mathias Jorgensen’s free header clipped the top of the crossbar before the break.

Brentford continued to dominate and Yoane Wissa became the third Bees player to hit the goal frame, with his powerful volley from inside the penalty area bouncing off the upright just before the hour mark.

Bryan Mbeumo also produced a fierce second-half attempt that rebounded off the crossbar as Brentford pushed for a much-needed victory in their fight to stay in the top flight.

Toney thought he had scored the winner, volleying into the net from Mbeumo’s cross in the 72nd minute, only for the effort to be disallowed for offside.

Brentford goalkeeper Mark Flekken then made an excellent one-handed save to deny Rasmus Hojlund but was beaten by substitute Mount before Ajer’s late heroics.

In previous seasons a top-four finish would be enough to qualify for the Champions League, but this year – depending on how English teams perform in European competition – fifth place may also earn a place in the top continental competition.

However, FA Cup semi-finalists United are sixth in the table, 11 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa and eight adrift of Tottenham in fifth, although Erik ten Hag’s side have a game in hand on Villa.

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