The Citizen (KZN)

Man Utd take a backward step


Bournemout­h – Manchester United’s chances of Champions League football next season took another battering as Bruno Fernandes’ double could only salvage a 2-2 draw at Bournemout­h on Saturday.

Twice the Cherries led through Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert and Bournemout­h were denied the opportunit­y to win the game at the death after a controvers­ial VAR review overturned the decision to award the home side a penalty.

A point leaves United still 10 adrift of Aston Villa and Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish with six games to go.

The Red Devils have now won just once in their last seven Premier League games to leave Erik ten Hag’s future as United boss next season in doubt.

“We have to win our games and we have dropped too many unnecessar­y points in the last few games,” said Ten Hag (above).

“Our opponents were struggling because they gave so much energy in the first-half and there were so many gaps but we didn’t benefit from it.”

Once again it was United’s defensive deficienci­es that were exploited as Bournemout­h just missed out on a famous double after winning 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

French teenager Willy Kambwala kept his place at centre-back with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof among those absent due to injury.

But Kambwala had a moment to forget for the opening goal as his slip allowed Solanke to pick his spot and fire home his 19th goal of the season.

United had barely threatened as an attacking force before they levelled against the run of play on 31 minutes via a Fernandes volley.

Bournemout­h were back in front within five minutes as this time Kluivert took advantage of the acres of space offered by the United defence inside the box to drill low past Andre Onana.

Ten Hag’s future as United boss becomes more unsure with every passing week and poor performanc­e.

However, the Dutchman was rewarded for a daring change at half-time as he replaced Garnacho with Amad Diallo.

The Ivorian winger shot to fame with an extra-time winner against Liverpool in a thrilling FA Cup quarterfin­al last month.

He helped earn the visitors a point as his deflected shot was handled by Adam Smith inside the area and Fernandes stepped up to slot the resulting penalty past Neto. –

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