Red Devils, Bournemouth share spoils
Manchester United were left disappointed and frustrated after they were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Bournemouth in a heated Premier League encounter at Old Trafford yesterday.
It was clear from the outset that it was going to be an entertaining game.
The visitors showed no fear and played with a high defensive line, which allowed United plenty of space to attack.
United took full advantage of the defensive line and battered the Bournemouth back line, with only a string of world-class saves from Artur Boruc and some poor finishing from United keeping them in the match.
As early as the second minute, Wayne Rooney sent a looping header centimetres over the bar, before Boruc pulled off an excellent low save to deny Paul Pogba.
The visitors then went close, with Benik Afobe breaking through a one-on-one with David de Gea and trying a tricky sidestep, but he lost his footing and danger was averted.
The Red Devils should have taken the lead a quarter of an hour into the match.
Anthony Martial did excellently to break into the box on the byline from the left wing before squaring the ball for Zlatan Ibrahimović less than two metres out.
Unfortunately, the Swede got the ball stuck in his feet and was not able to steer it goalward.
The hosts’ pressure eventually paid off in the 24th minute, in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
Antonio Valencia seemed to attempt a shot on goal, but scuffed it low across the box straight to Marcos Rojo, who stuck his foot out and steered the Red Devils into the lead.
However, Phil Jones gifted the visitors a chance to get back into the game with a clumsy challenge in the box, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty.
Former Manchester United man Joshua King stepped up and levelled the score for the Cherries in the 39th minute.
There was lots of drama at the end of the first half, starting with Tyrone Mings seemingly stamping on Ibrahimović’s head.
The Swede retaliated by throwing an elbow into his face while leaping for a ball at a corner. Neither player was sanctioned. However, Andrew Surman did receive his marching orders for picking up a second yellow card for pushing Ibrahimović in the aftermath of his elbow on Mings.
With Bournemouth a man down, they were much more reserved in the second period, happy to sit back and soak up the pressure and deny their hosts too much space.
However, the home side was handed a golden opportunity to restore their lead when Adam Smith was blown up for handling the ball in the box.
Ibrahimović stepped up to take the spot kick, but the excellent Boruc guessed the right direction and made a good save.
Martial then skied the rebound high over the bar.
United threw men forward in the closing stages, but were constantly thwarted by a resolute Bournemouth defence, and their attacks became noticeably less effective as their frustration grew.
Deep into injury time, a scrappy period of play in the visitor’s box ended with the ball falling to Pogba at the back post, but the midfielder completely fluffed his attempted half volley and sent the ball bouncing out for a goal kick.
TOUSLE Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini fights for the ball with Bournemouth’s Steve Cook at Old Trafford yesterday. The Cherries were reduced to 10 men, but still managed to draw the match