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Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

Just as Manchester United dared to dream that they were back in the Premier League title race they were hit by a stunning reality check through an equally stunning goal.

A wonderful free-kick by Michael Olise in injury time salvaged a point for Palace in a contest that it appeared United had under control. They let it slip and that is not what champions do.

They did not lose but a 10th straight victory in all competitions, which would have been their longest run in 14 years, evaded them and manager Erik ten Hag showed his frustration as he walked off shaking his head at the final whistle. As well he might.

United were so close to going second in the table, ahead of Manchester City, even if briefly so, which would have set up Sunday’s meeting away to leaders Arsenal even more. But they now head there having dropped points and without Casemiro, who was booked for chopping down Wilfried Zaha and is now suspended.

Ten Hag will ponder how the victory got away and why United did not press on after making their breakthrough.

United have attempted to add to their firepower with the addition of Wout Weghorst. The 30-year-old striker, signed on loan from Burnley in one of the more surprising transfers, started and lasted almost 70 minutes. How did he do? Ten Hag will argue he was effective enough but United need more and so it proved.

Even if Champions League qualification is the main aim this season, United know they have an unexpected chance to be back in the conversation when it comes to the title. But Palace deserved the draw.

It is eight months since Ten Hag turned up at Selhurst Park to watch United for the first time after being appointed manager. They appeared bereft, they lost 1-0 – as they completed their worst Premier League campaign – and the difference last night was stark. Confidence is flowing and with no one more so than Bruno Fernandes, who is re-establishing himself following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and is looking a true leader and influence.

His goal, two minutes before half-time, was well taken and constructed and it came just as Palace’s tails were up. The drums in the Holmesdale End were being beaten, the songs sung and Palace had gone closest to scoring only for David de Gea to brilliantly deny Odsonne Edouard.

It looked to be a certain goal as Edouard held off Raphaël Varane on the edge of the penalty area and appeared to have found the top corner with a dipping shot, but De Gea adjusted to tip it onto the top of the crossbar.

It proved pivotal. United had dominated but with little to show for it before Marcus Rashford pierced the Palace defence to pick out Christian Eriksen’s clever run and the midfielder had the presence of mind to pull the ball back to where Fernandes had dropped into space. The Portugal international took a touch, picked his spot and United were ahead.

Fernandes’s most noteworthy involvement prior to that moment had been a spat with team-mate Antony when the Brazilian made himself a pantomime villain after clashing with Tyrick Mitchell, who hauled him to the ground as they chased the ball by the touchline.

Antony should have given United the lead as he stole in to capitalise on hesitation between Mitchell and Marc Guehi and was able to lift the ball over goalkeeper Vicente Guaita but also wide of the target. That was a chance. For Palace, Guaita seemed uncertain and had already spilt a Fernandes pass towards the excellent Eriksen, appearing panicky when the ball was in his area.

A break in play while Lisandro Martinez received treatment for an apparent stray elbow to his head from Jean-Philippe Mateta was greeted with a chant of “We want Glazers out” from the United supporters, with that sale process now thankfully gathering speed. Martinez returned, with his head bandaged, making the Argentine look even more like a warrior.

For a while it was tetchy before United finally provided a cross for Weghorst as he met Luke Shaw’s delivery only to angle his header onto the roof of the net.

Fernandes had another effort charged down early in the second half and Antony ballooned a shot over as United went for the kill. There was another break in the action, after an injury to Michael Olise, during which a fan managed to run onto the pitch and take a photograph with Casemiro. Bizarrely, the stewards almost stood by and watched until he finished before escorting him away.

The longer the game went on the more chance Palace felt they had of salvaging it and De Gea did well again to punch away Guehi’s powerful header from a corner as they finally threatened.

United were playing a dangerous game and, after Rashford was dispossessed, Palace countered. A free-kick again was earned after a panicky challenge and up stepped Olise. It appeared De Gea was unbeatable but Olise’s effort was fierce and precise and right in the top corner. Olise’s celebrations were restrained. The Palace supporters’ were not as Ten Hag looked on grimly.

United will argue that before that they should have had a penalty, for an apparent trip on Scott McTominay by Chris Richards, but in truth they had let this slip and in injury time Casemiro just failed to meet a corner when the ball fell to him inside the six-yard area.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened
Crystal Palace 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

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