United grabs point with late goal on day of draws in England
Manchester United needed an injury-time equalizer by Daley Blind to escape with a point from a 1-1 draw against West Ham in one of three stalemates in the Premier League on Sunday.
Trailing to a superbly improvised goal by West Ham’s makeshift defender Cheikhou Kouyate, United persevered at Upton Park and got its reward when Blind pounced on a weak headed clearance to volley into the corner two minutes into added time.
“In the end, we couldn’t cope with long-ball United,” said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, whose side struggled with United’s late aerial bombardment inspired by Marouane Fellaini’s introduction as a substitute. “It was ‘pump it forward and see what you get’ in the end.”
With Arsenal losing and both Manchester City and Liverpool drawing, United, which had Luke Shaw sent off in injury time for two yellow cards, missed a chance to gain ground on its main rivals in the frenzied fight for Champions League qualification.
United has dropped to fourth behind Southampton and is only a point clear of resurgent Tottenham. Six points separate Southampton and seventh-place Liverpool.
West Bromwich Albion began the day of fightbacks by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Burnley, which could at least console itself with climbing out of the relegation zone. Then substitute Peter Crouch scored a 90th-minute header to salvage a 1-1 draw for Stoke at Newcastle in a match between two mid-table teams.
Blind left it even later, rescuing United after a mediocre display that highlighted the frailties in Louis van Gaal’s expensively assembled team as it fights for a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League.
With Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao lacking spark up front and Wayne Rooney toiling in midfield, United was indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for keeping them in the game. It’s not the first time that has happened this season.
De Gea could do little about the excellent goal scored by Kouyate, who controlled Rooney’s attempted headed clearance and juggled the ball twice before swivelling and sending in a volley that deflected into the net off Blind.
United responded well and the arrival of the powerful and tall Fellaini caused West Ham problems. United went direct and from one of the many high balls sent into the box, West Ham defender Carl Jenkinson could only clear to the inrushing Blind, who found the corner.
“I think we played very badly in the first half and we showed a lot of spirit in the second half,” Van Gaal said.
“With Fellaini, you have to change your playing style. Because of Fellaini, we have created a lot of chances.”
Shaw picked up two yellow cards in the final 10 minutes, the second coming in the third minute of injury time.
United has now only lost once in 17 matches.
Burnley has squandered a two-goal lead three times in its last four games, dealing a blow to its chances of pulling clear of relegation trouble.
All four goals in a lively match at Turf Moor came from headers, with in-demand striker Danny Ings setting up Ashley Barnes for Burnley’s opener in the 11th minute before scoring himself in the 32nd.
Chris Brunt, who lost the captain’s armband to new signing Darren Fletcher, bundled in a left-wing corner in first-half injury time to bring West Brom back into the game before Nigeria striker Brown Ideye completed the recovery in the 67th, taking advantage of more slack marking to head in another corner.
Stoke threw on Crouch after Jack Colback gave Newcastle the lead in the 74th, driving home a shot from the edge of the area from Moussa Sissoko’s lay-off.
Only seconds were remaining in normal time when United States international Geoff Cameron sent in a deep cross from the right wing, which Crouch met with a looping header.