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Report: Mata struck twice to lead Leicester City but last-minute equaliser stuns Manchester United

Manchester United drew 2-2 Leicester City at the King Power Stadium after conceding the first goal in the 27th minute with Jamie Vardy the scored. Juan Mata equalised 13 minutes later to restore the parity in the game before scoring a sublime free-kick on the 60th minute to put United in the lead. A red card for Daniel Amartey left Leicester with a lot of thinking to do. United seemed to have the win by in the final minute of added time Harry Maguire scored the equaliser.

Jose Mourinho made ten changes to the side which crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Bristol City on Wednesday evening. United made a good start to the match, pressing for the opening goal. Juan Mata saw his deflected cross fall for Chris Smalling, the England defender unable to hit the target as his header rose over the crossbar.

A few minutes later, United were on the attack again, unlucky not to open the scoring after Jesse Lingard’s deflected effort was denied by Kasper Schmeichel who made an impressive save. Both teams were creating chances, none of them opened the scoring. United seemed determined to get something from the game early and again went close in the eleventh minute after Lingard released Romelu Lukaku, Schmeichel getting off his line to deny the Belgian.

United looked dangerous every time they were on the ball and Lingard was one of the players causing that. United broke through many times with Lingard seemed to find himself in space on the attack. In the 19th minute, United were again pushing Leicester with Anthony Martial getting the better of Danny Simpson just before he put a good ball in at the far post for Lukaku who tried an acrobatic shot, only to put the ball into the stands.

United were starting to dominate Leicester by their attacking play with Juan Mata getting himself involved in the attacking, spraying the ball out to Martial but a last-gasp challenge from Simpson denied the Frenchman from taking the lead for his club. Martial seemed to be injured from the challenge, but he was fine to continue. Leicester took the lead in the 27th minute through Jamie Vardy, getting the better of Smalling to then beat David De Gea.

As United were looking to restore the parity in the game, Victor Lindelof was booked for a foul on Vicente Iborra. United did not stay behind long as Mata equalised in the 40th minute of the match. Nemanja Matic broke forward, passing out to Martial who then fired to the feet of Lingard, setting up Mata’s shot which was low and close to the post. United were back in the game. There were two minutes of added time at the end of the first half, neither side able to get anything else out of the half.

Leicester started on the front foot at the start of the second half with Wilfred Ndidi, Demarai Grey and Vardy all combining to break into United’s area. Two minutes into the half, Matic was booked for a challenge on Riyadh Mahrez, United’s second player to be booked in the match. In the 51st minute, Paul Pogba floated a great ball up field releasing Lukaku, who was adjudged to be offside.

A minute later, United had a shot through, started by Martial putting in the ball to Pogba, who shot 25-yards from goal – straight into the palms of Schmeichel. A minute after that, Mahrez left Ashley Young wondering what happened, firing a low ball into the area, falling to Christian Fuchs with the goal gaping. Lindelof recovered and cleared the line for United.

In the 57th minute, Leicester had to take Simpson off after he injured himself, bringing Daniel Amartey on, just after Marc Albrighton was booked for fouling Lingard. United were starting to look lively again with Martial driving up the left, playing a one-two with Pogba, returning the pass which did not find Martial, who was fouled with United winning a free-kick.

United took the lead in the 60th minute of the match with Mata on a hat-trick, firing the free-kick over the wall, curling into the back of the net. What a goal from the player who has scored the most goals out of United’s current players. Leicester made their second change of the game in the 67th minute with Shinji Okazaki replacing Iborra.

In the 70th minute, Amartey – who had been on the pitch for 13 minutes was booked for a foul on Young. United then made their first change with Marcus Rashford replacing Martial in the 71st minute. In the next minute, United were on the attack again with Lukaku holding up the ball, threaded his pass to Lingard, who split the defence, rounded the keeper and saw his effort come back off the post. Lingard then regained the ball and shot again, which was over the crossbar.

In the 73rd minute, it was a red card for Leicester after Amartey recklessly brought down Rashford and gave Jonathan Moss no other option as he was booked three minutes before. Leicester were down to ten men. In the 76th minute, United made their second substitution with Lingard being replaced by Ander Herrera.

There was a penalty shout after Schmeichel seemed to take Rashford down in the box, but a goal kick was given. With the replay, there was a slight touch on Rashford. United made their third change with Henrikh Mkhitaryan replacing Mata in the 83rd minute of the match. Leicester then had a penalty shout after Smalling had both hands on Maguire’s shoulders trying to defend from a Leicester attack.

There were four minutes of added time at the end of the match with Leicester pushing to get something from the match, United also trying to retain their lead and win the game. Leicester had chances to equalise and United had the chance to advance further, failing to take their chances earlier on in the match. Smalling seemed to pick up an injury with United having used all their substitutes.

Smalling was off for treatment, coming back on to continue. In the last minute of added time, Harry Maguire scored the equaliser, United getting just deserts after failing to finish Leicester when they had the chance. United have gone from three points to one point from this game, seeing Manchester City’s lead reduced to 13 points, which I feel is too much for this United side to break into. Only themselves to blame for the inability to hold the lead over ten-man Leicester City.

Goals: Juan Mata 40′, 60′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 40′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Jones, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Mkhitaryan 83′), Lingard (Herrera 76′), Martial (Rashford 71′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Shaw; Ibrahimovic

Bookings: Victor Lindelof 34′, Nemanja Matic 47′

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