Manchester United rode their luck before burying luckless Brentford with a second-half goal blitz to claim a 3-1 away victory on Wednesday and boost their challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
A United win did not look likely as Brentford dominated the first half but the visitors were clinical after the break with goals by Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford securing a flattering victory.
Brentford should have been comfortably ahead by halftime but spurned numerous chances with Mathias Jensen twice denied by the outstretched leg of United keeper David De Gea.
Several other opportunities went begging and they were made to pay for their profligacy when Elanga nodded United in front in the 55th minute and Greenwood tapped in after a counter-attack before substitute Rashford rifled in his side's third in the 77th minute to deflate Brentford.
Ivan Toney pulled a goal back from close range with five minutes remaining but it was scant consolation for the hosts who slumped to a third successive defeat.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to United's starting line-up after recovering from injury but was subdued and reacted angrily after being substituted in the second half.
United remained in seventh spot but moved level on 35 points with sixth-placed Arsenal and are only two behind West Ham United who occupy fourth.
"First half was not good in all aspects of the game," United manager Ralf Rangnick said. "In the second half we were more urgent, attacking higher up the pitch and taking the right decisions in the counter attack and we scored, which is the big difference."
Home manager Thomas Frank, whose side are 14th and 10 points above the bottom three, was baffled at the outcome.
"We destroyed them in the first half, they didn't have a sniff, three huge chances and there could only have been one winner of this game," he said.
"They are unbelievably lucky. Our intensity killed them."