Man United implodes in 5-3 loss to Leicester
LEICESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 5-3 to Leicester in a wild Premier League game on Sunday, with the promoted side scoring four times in 20 minutes to cap its thrilling comeback.
Angel Di Maria’s exquisite chip put United 2-0 ahead in the 16th minute but it proved in vain as Leicester exposed the visitors’ defensive frailties to come from 3-1 down with 28 minutes left.
Penalties by David Nugent and Leonardo Ulloa — the second after Tyler Blackett’s sending-off — came either side of goals by Esteban Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy as United’s defense imploded at King Power Stadium.
Robin van Persie and Di Maria scored to give United a great start before Ulloa reduced the deficit in the 18th with a third goal in a five-minute span. Ander Herrera regained the two-goal lead with a deft flick before United collapsed, leaving the team with five points from its opening five games despite a summer spending spree of $250 million.
“We have too many players who want to seek for the goal,” United manager Louis van Gaal said.
“It is not good,” he added, “because we have the game in our pocket and gave it away.”
After beating Queens Park Rangers 4-0 last weekend, United’s all-star attack looks in good shape, with Radamel Falcao making his first start and setting up Van Persie’s deflected header for the 13th-minute opener. Di Maria repaid even more of his $99 million price tag by producing another effervescent display and his goal — a scoop over the goalkeeper from about 15 yards (meters) out — would have been the highlight on another day.
But United continue to look vulnerable defensively, with Blackett’s upcoming suspension and a first-half foot injury to Jonny Evans, who left the stadium on crutches, not helping. Leicester could have won by even more as it created chance after chance in the final minutes.
“It was absolutely brilliant,” said Vardy. “We exploited their weaknesses and we got the result.”
Leicester’s fightback was sparked by a penalty awarded after Rafael da Silva was adjudged to have pushed Vardy in the back. The striker appeared to have got away with a nudge on Rafael seconds earlier.
Nugent slammed his penalty down the middle, Cambiasso drove in a low shot less than two minutes later for the equalizer before Vardy was sent clean through in the 79th minute to slip a low shot past David de Gea, with no United defender near him.
Blackett was bundled off the ball by Vardy in the 83rd minute and, in attempts to get the ball back, tackled the striker from behind. Blackett was shown a straight red card and Ulloa made no mistake from the spot.
“How is it possible to give this game away?” Van Gaal said. “Leicester has proven already in four games that they have a strong character and that when they are 3-1 down, you can play all the game with more possession but you cannot do these kind of things.”