Man United and Bournemouth finish level
Josh King levelled the tie just before half-time.15:05 Saturday 4 March 2017, 15:05 4 Mar 2017
Man United scuppered a major opportunity to move up to fifth place on the Premier League table, following a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in a particularly robust encounter.
Despite dominating in possession for large chunks of the game, United's efforts yielded just one goal courtesy of a deflection from Marcos Rojo to put them in front after 23 minutes.
This was a tie that wasn't lacking in physicality. There could arguably have been three red cards distributed in the first-half and it looks like retrospective action could be taken.
Tyrone Mings escaped any approach from the referee after an apparent stamp on the head of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mings looked to be trying to jump over the United striker's head, but slid his studs over the Swede's head when coming back down.
Image: Andrew Surman in action against Luke Shaw.
Ibrahimovic avenged the tackle shortly after with an elbow into Mings' cheek while contesting a header. Again, no action was taken by referee Kevin Friend.
There was one red card issued in the opening half. Andrew Surman was dismissed on the back of a second yellow card, for what looked to be a rather timid push on Ibrahimovic.
After taking the lead, United failed to press for a second goal. They regressed somewhat in attack, and some moments of uncertainty in defence offered hope to an opportunist Bournemouth side who were living off scraps.
Their chances of hitting a second goal were further reduced by the form of Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc, who put in an exceptional display throughout the 90 minutes. His performance culminated in a penalty save from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty in the second half.
Image: Phil Jones gives away a penalty against Bournemouth.
A moment of utter carelessness minutes from half-time gifted Bournemouth an opportunity to level the tie. Phil Jones brought down Marc Pugh inside the penalty area, and there could be no complaints about referee Kevin Friend's decision to point to the spot.
Josh King converted the spot-kick in style, sending the ball thundering into the top corner and restoring parity between the sides before the break.
United started advancing again after the restart, and landed several shots on target. Boruc's hands will be smarting tomorrow from guarding against the bombardment.
The home side looked to have the second goal at their fingertips, when Adam Smith handled the ball in the 70th minute.
Ibrahimovic stepped up to take the spot-kick, and although he aimed the shot into the bottom corner, Boruc's reflexes equalled the effort.
Paul Pogba found himself in a scoring position on a few occasions towards, including an attempt at a volley that connected with air rather than the ball.
The drawn result sees United go level on points with Liverpool, but they've missed a chance to at least momentarily move out of sixth place on the table, and edge closer to Champions League qualification.
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