Sunday 6 March 2016

Match report: West Brom 1-0 United

A second half Salomon Rondon winner sunk ten man United and put a major dent in the Reds hopes of finishing in the top four.

The entire complexion of the game changed with the 26th minute dismissal of Juan Mata, whom turned from hero to villain after his match winning moment in midweek.

The Spaniard was sent off after two quickfire yellow cards and, despite rarely looking troubled, Rondon's 66th-minute winner earned Albion their first home win over United for 32 years. 

Anthony Martial went close with a 25-yarder early on, whilst Craig Dawson headed over and Saido Berahino had an effort blocked by the returning Chris Smalling.

The first of Craig Gardner's two wicked in-swinging free-kicks was diverted away by Martial and the second was nodded narrowly wide by Gareth McAuley whom was subsequently flagged offside.

The turning point of the game occurred within a two-minute spell midway through the half.

First, Mata was booked on 24 minutes after he was adjudged to have infringed Darren Fletcher's set-piece, before the pair collided again moments later.

Mata tripped the former Red with the United man shown his second yellow card and first career red card.

The hosts initially looked to take advantage when both Dawson and Saido Berahino unleashed efforts from distance, but neither failed to trouble David de Gea.

Despite being down to ten men, the visitors started the second half like they did the first in a reshuffled 4-4-1-1 formation with Martial on his own up front.
Marcus Rashford went close from the Frenchman's teasing delivery,  Jesse Lingard clipped the crossbar with a dipping drive and Berahino went close with a volley at the other end.

The breakthrough came against the run of play on 66 minutes when substitute Sebastian Pocognoli crossed for Rondon to control and fire in a finish from 15 yards for his eighth of the season.

Following the goal, chances were at a premium as West Brom sat deep and frustrated United, who pressed in vain for a deserved leveller which ultimately failed to materialise.

Overall team performance: 6.5/10
United Faithful man of the match: Chris Smalling 

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