Wednesday 11 February 2015

Match report: United 3-1 Burnley

Substitute Chris Smalling scored twice to help United overcome a battling Burnley side and move up to third in the Premier League table.

Smalling, who had come on inside five minutes for the injured Phil Jones, headed United ahead but Danny Ings' ninth of the season brought the Clarets level.

The centre-back then restored the lead with another header on the stroke of half-time before a late Robin Van Persie penalty, United's first of the season, wrapped up the points eight minutes from time.

The hosts were second best to the struggling Clarets for long periods, yet, despite a committed, hard-working performance, Burnley remain one point from safety.
They have won only once in nine league games ahead of their next match at leaders Chelsea.

Ex United-defender Michael Keane went close for the visitors with a header from a corner, but, only 22 seconds after coming on, Smalling was in the right place to nod beyond Tom Heaton after Falcao headed across the face of goal.

David de Gea denied Michael Kightly before Burnley equalised with a superb finish from Ings, who flung himself at a delicious Kieran Trippier cross in the 12th minute.

Burnley had ten attempts on goal to United's three in the first half and Ashley Barnes almost put the visitors ahead when he fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Ings was the most threatening striker on the pitch in the first 45 minutes, while Rooney ended the half playing as a holding midfielder after Daley Blind was forced off with injury.

Yet it was United who finished the half with a lead they could scarcely believe as Smalling headed home Di Maria's excellent cross following a short corner.

David De Gea denied Ings from close range and Kightly flashed a shot wide as Burnley refused to lie down, but United were able to relax for the first time in the match on 82 minutes.
Angel Di Maria was felled by Scott Arfield and, for the first time this season, United were awarded a penalty, clinically despatched by van Persie to put the result beyond doubt.

Adnan Januzaj had an effort hacked off the line by Jason Shackell late on but an improved second half performance saw United move up to third after Southampton were held 0-0 by West Ham on the South coast.

United Faithful man of the match: Chris Smalling.
Overall team performance: 6/10

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