Premier League | March 4, 2017 | Old Trafford | Attendance: 75,245 | Scorers: Rojo 23min; King 40min (pen)
Manchester United 1-1 Bournemouth
Manchester United were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by 10-man Bournemouth at Old Trafford as Artur Boruc saved a second-half Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty to deny United the chance to move into the top four and for Ibrahimovic to increase his goal tally. Ibrahimovic had a penalty saved as United were held 1-1, missing the opportunity to move ahead of Liverpool and into fifth in a feisty game at Old Trafford.
United fashioned the game’s first chance in the opening two minutes when Antonio Valencia’s ball kick floated cross the air and was headed over by Captain Wayne Rooney. Within moments, Josh King barged Phil Jones off the ball at the other end but when referee Kevin Friend waved play on, the Bournemouth man failed to find a colleague.
Photo: Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes a penalty, saved by Bournemouth goalie Artur Boruc
United had a breakthrough after 23 minutes when Valencia’s low strike was stabbed in by Marcos Rojo to secure a deserved lead. Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman clattered in on United’s Luke Shaw to pick up a yellow card as the game hit a brief lull but on 40 minutes his side were level when United defender Phil Jones fouled Marc Pugh to concede a penalty that was slammed home by Josh King. King cancelled Rojo’s goal at the 40th minute with a penalty kick.
Possession: United 60% Bournemouth 40%
Shots at goal: United 10 Bournemouth 2
Shots on target: United 5 Bournemouth 1
Corners: United 7 Bournemouth 1
Bournemouth players frustrated Mourinho’s men at every opportunity. Referee Friend showed a yellow card to Surman who had already been booked for what appeared to many as a shove. Friend belatedly realized that Surman had already been booked and showed him a red card.
United attempted to press home their one-man advantage at the start of the second half, with Rooney seeing an effort deflected over and Anthony Martial delivering some dangerous low crosses. The very expensive Paul Pogba came close to restoring United’s lead after 56 minutes when his 25-yarder was stopped by Boruc, and when the France international was fouled around 25 yards out in the 64th minute, Ibrahimovic clattered a free kick into the wall.
United were awarded a penalty when Adam Smith was adjudged to have handled Pogba’s attempt to turn a deep cross back into the danger area but Boruc made a fine low save to keep out Ibrahimovic’s effort. What a brilliantly save from Boruc who was cool throughout the match.
Possession: United 68% Bournemouth 32%
Shots at goal: United 20 Bournemouth 3
Shots on target: United 7 Bournemouth 1
Corners: United 15 Bournemouth 2
United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw (Lingard 70); Carrick (Fellaini 70), Pogba; Mata, Rooney (Rashford 70), Martial; Ibrahimovic. Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Smalling, Herrera.
Booked: Ibrahimovic, Carrick, Rashford.
Bournemouth: Boruc; Smith, Cook, Mings (Cargill 78), Daniels; Surman, Arter, Fraser, Pugh (Gosling 45); King (Gradel 87), Afobe. Subs not used: Allsop, B Smith, Ibe, Wilshere.
Booked: Arter, Gosling.
Red Card: Surman.
Ibrahimovic characteristically shouldered the responsibility for Manchester United’s dropped points against Bournemouth after his 72nd-minute penalty was saved by Artur Boruc. The Swedish maestro told MUTV after the match: “We are very disappointed. We should have won. I take the blame. I missed the penalty. I had a lot of chances and should have scored. I didn’t and I take fully the responsibility and I will rise from this and come back even stronger and continue. This is nothing unusual, it has happened before and it can happen again . . .”
Also after the match, Jose Mourinho insisted Manchester United are still in the top-four race, despite missing a chance to move up the table after being held to a miserable 1-1 draw by Bournemouth on Saturday. United has remained in sixth position following the frustrating result and it is not the first time United have failed to take advantage of a real opportunity to push for a Champions League spot – very worrisome!
Photo: United 1-1 Bournemouth | A phalanx of dejected Manchester United star-studded quartet at Old Trafford
During the match it appeared that Manchester United players were having an EFL Cup hangover after bolstering the club’s trophy cabinet with a 41st major honor. United disappointed me, to say the least. I expected a comfortable win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford. United missed the chance to move into the Premier League’s top four after ex-United striker Josh King’s penalty cancelled out Marcos Rojo’s opener at Old Trafford on Saturday.
What a life! Nevertheless . . .