Red Devils, Bournemouth share spoils

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

PHOTO: REUTERS / JA­SON CAIRNDUFF LIVEPIC

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

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