Lin­gard and Lukaku sink de­fi­ant Derby

United show a lack of qual­ity in front of goal be­fore break­ing the dead­lock

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Jamie Jack­son at Old Trafford

Manch­ester United seemed des­tined for an un­wanted re­play be­fore Jesse Lin­gard again took re­spon­si­bil­ity, scor­ing an 11th goal of the sea­son with six min­utes re­main­ing, prompt­ing Romelu Lukaku to seal the win at the end of nor­mal time.

José Mour­inho’s side had seemed un­able to kill off Derby County as to­wards the close Mar­cus Rash­ford crashed the ball off the right post, Lukaku’s header hit the left, and Paul Pogba missed a sit­ter.

Yet Lin­gard’s swerv­ing long-range shot showed them how to do it and so United move on con­tent.

Mour­inho made five changes, draft­ing in Ser­gio Romero, Da­ley Blind, Chris Smalling, Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan and Rash­ford.

Gary Rowett’s XI showed six dif­fer­ent per­son­nel from their pre­vi­ous match, with Tom Lawrence, An­dre Wis­dom, Alex Pearce, Sam Win­nall, Mar­cus Ols­son and Ge­orge Thorne all se­lected.

United made a crisp start. Luke Shaw and Pogba moved the ball along the left. The French­man beat a Derby de­fender and switched pos­ses­sion to Lin­gard, who should have scored, in­stead lift­ing the shot high over Scott Car­son’s goal.

Next up An­der Her­rera rose well, but his header was sim­i­larly mis­di­rected.

Derby were be­ing given no chance to set­tle as now Pogba took aim with his left foot, this ef­fort hav­ing to be watched care­fully by Car­son.

Yet fol­low­ing this flurry of chances the vis­i­tors did get on the ball and stroke it around a lit­tle. Lawrence, the No 10 in Rowett’s 4-2-3-1, broke up the mid­dle of United and re­versed play to Win­nall but the cen­tre-for­ward was stymied.

The con­test had an at­trac­tive flow. Lin­gard and Mkhi­taryan put Rash­ford in, and af­ter a trick to cre­ate space the striker missed a glar­ing chance to open the scor­ing.


Mata’s free-kick was saved well by Car­son to his right, and from the en­su­ing cor­ner United found them­selves back-ped­alling. Mkhi­taryan took this short, and sud­denly Shaw was pass­ing back to­wards the cen­tre-cir­cle. When the ball found its way to Johnny Rus­sell, he coasted down the left and found Martin Ols­son’s head, the left-back forc­ing Romero to tip over the bar.

As the half-hour ap­proached United be­came sloppy. Mkhi­taryan gifted pos­ses­sion to Derby, Win­nall raced for­ward and the Ar­me­nian was for­tu­nate to see the at­tack fiz­zle out.

The same was true of United’s ini­tial mo­men­tum: their dis­play had flat­tened and they were now vul­ner­a­ble. The lack of ruth­less­ness that Mour­inho can be­moan was ev­i­dent when a Rash­ford glanc­ing header from Mkhi­taryan’s ball hit Car­son’s left post.

As the in­ter­val neared United kept press­ing. A Pogba free-kick drew “oohs” from the home sup­port as Car­son saved sharply to his right. Yet at the break the tie re­mained dead­locked.

Mour­inho be­lieved a change was re­quired, so Lukaku, who missed the win at Ever­ton due to a head in­jury, re­placed Mkhi­taryan for the se­cond half.

Derby, though, made the brighter start. A Tom Lawrence free-kick from the right found Tom Hud­dle­stone who was un­lucky not to score with a shot.

From here United mounted a first at­tack of the pe­riod. Pogba and Lukaku com­bined, and when the lat­ter lost the ball he quickly claimed it back. Up stepped Her­rera whose at­tempt was de­flected for a cor­ner.

This en­livened United. Pogba dug out a route into Derby’s area and when the ball ar­rived at Mata’s feet he pulled the trig­ger and Car­son beat the ball away.


Rash­ford cor­ner from the left found Lukaku’s head, but he could not di­rect it, and the same player’s cross mo­ment later was missed com­pletely by Mata’s head. All of this il­lus­trated a trou­bling lack of req­ui­site qual­ity in front of goal.

Old Trafford did, at least, raise the vol­ume, which does not al­ways oc­cur here. United quick­ened the tempo yet a hint of des­per­a­tion re­mained.

Pogba set off on a run that was halted eas­ily by Derby and Mour­inho made a se­cond sub­sti­tu­tion, bring­ing on An­thony Mar­tial for Mata.

Rowett brought on Matej Vy­dra for Win­nall and Derby’s man­ager may have seen a cred­i­ble re­play move into sight. But, in the end it did not prove so.


Liver­pool’s new ¤84 mil­lion sign­ing Vir­gil van Dijk (left) rises high­est to score the late win­ner against Ever­ton at An­field last night.

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