Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Match report: United 2-2 Burnley

A second half salvo from substitute Jesse Lingard salvaged a point as United came back from two down to snatch a point in injury time against Lancashire rivals Burnley. Ashley Barnes fired the Clarets ahead inside five minutes when Johann Berg Gudmundson's free-kick was not cleared. Steven Defour made it 2-0 with a superb 30 yarder nine minutes before the break, but Lingard flicked home Ashley Young's cross to halve the deficit on 55 minutes.
United poured forward and rescued a point when Lingard fired home a loose ball in the 91st minute to rescue a point that the Reds probably deserved. Both teams should earn some credit from the match. Sean Dyche's side again showed wonderful resilience, discipline and endeavour to prove that their seventh-placed standing in the league is no fluke. On United's part, this was two points dropped but we can at least take heart from the spirit, fight and courage in the second half that saw us nick a draw in a frantic finale. 

Marcos Rojo picked up a booking in only the third minute for a foul on Jeff Hendrick, and from the resultant free-kick, United failed to clear Berg Gudmundsson's delivery and Barnes stole in and hooked the ball home. It was a dream start for the visitors who proved more than a match for United in every department, but Juan Mata, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba all soon threatened as the chances started to stack up in front of the Stretford End. An equaliser looked in the offing, but Burnley stunned Old Trafford and sent their travelling fans into a frenzy when they doubled the lead on 36 minutes. The second goal came from another free-kick just outside the box and it was clinically despatched past a stranded David de Gea by the Clarets impressive Belgian international Defour. 

Romelu Lukaku flashed a shot wide before the half-time introductions of Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in place of the ragged Marcos Rojo and ineffective Zlatan Ibrahimovic - a swap that saw Nemanja Matic drop back as an auxiliary member of the Reds rejigged defence. 
United were revitalised and got back into the game on 53 minutes through Lingard - who had been denied by Nick Pope moments beforehand. Young's cross picked out the in-form attacker, and he flicked home a clever back-heel finish to make it 1-2. 

Jose's side ratcheted up the pressure but came up against a superbly organised and tenacious Burnley side, who refused to lie down as they clung to their slender lead. Mata shot wide, Rashford flashed a shot across goal, but for all  the pressure, Pope was relatively untested as the clock ticked down. 

The match entered five minutes of added time, but just when the Clarets looked set for a famous win, Lingard and United saved the day. Burnley failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped invitingly for Lingard who thumped home a low finish to ensure a deserved share of the spoils.

Overall team performance: 6.5/10. Deserve some credit for the second half rally. 
United Faithful Man of the Match: Jesse Lingard. Changed the game and rescued us with another impressive performance and a brace having come on at half-time.

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