Report: Nemanja Matic scores the winner as Manchester United come from behind at Crystal Palace

Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Monday evening, Palace took the lead through Andros Townsend in the 11th minute, with Patrick van Aanholt doubling that lead in the 48th minute. United scored their first goal in the 55th minute through Chris Smalling, finding the equaliser through Romelu Lukaku in the 76th minute with Nemanja Matic scoring the winner deep in stoppage time with a stunning volley from 30-yards out.

Jose Mourinho made one change to the team which beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford last weekend. Jesse Lingard, the scorer of the winning goal has replaced Anthony Martial in the team. The Frenchman did not travel to London because of a slight injury. Crystal Palace started the game well, putting pressure on United but nothing to cause too many problems.

In the fifth minute of the match, James Tomkins had a shot on goal but it was nothing to write home about as the shot was well wide of David De Gea’s goal. Palace still pressed but United soon regained possession after some early defensive errors with Alexis Sanchez getting forward and trying to inspire United to an opening goal of the game.

Just eleven minutes into the match Palace were ahead through Andros Townsend of all people. The former Spurs player seemed to be intelligent on the ball after Christian Benteke passed the ball into the box. Townsend’s shot was on target but the ball took a big deflection off Victor Lindelof and into the back of the net. The fickle fans will be calling for Mourinho and Lindelof to be sacked now!

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Ashley Young is not having the best of games. Never in position, playing having to come out of position to cover for him. Not sure why Mourinho praises Luke Shaw as the best left-back at the club, yet opts for Young over him the majority of the time. United attacked in the 20th minute of the match with Sanchez playing the ball through for Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian not able to get his shot away.

United started to play a bit better after a poor period in the game, getting forward and pressing Palace but not as much as they should be doing. United were starting to dominate in possession with Nemanja Matic sitting further back with both Scott McTominay and Pogba playing further forward. United need to be doing so much better. That performance against Chelsea seems like it didn’t happen.

Five minutes before the end of the half, United had a rare attack with Jesse Lingard on the ball and sending his shot towards goal, which was off target. Moments later, in United’s half, McTominay was booked for a challenge, the first booking of the game. Judging by the performance so far, you would think it was United in the bottom three in the league, not Palace.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Matic was fouled and United won a free-kick. Nothing came of it but as Young rose for the header to keep the ball in a threatening area there was a clash of heads between him and Luka Milivojević. After some treatment, both players were on their feet, probably to be assessed during the break. The half ended with Palace still ahead.

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At the start of the second half, Mourinho made a change with Scott McTominay being replaced by Marcus Rashford. United seems to have the urgency which was missing in the first half after the substitution, which is frustrating. Palace scored their second goal through Patrick van Aanholt in the 48th minute of the match after Lindelof playing him on and Smalling was caught napping. Pathetic.

In the 50th minute of the match, Pogba tried his luck from long-range but Wayne Hennessey held the ball well. United then started to get more involved in the match, which is something they needed to do from the very first minute but didn’t. United won a corner and Smalling, on the header, should have done much better to get a goal back for his club. This is one of those matches to forget, again.

United got a goal back in the 55th minute of the match with Smalling rising for a header after Antonio Valencia put a sublime ball into the box. Palace were defensively poor, perhaps playing homage to United for the majority of the game. United now needed to get another and keep scoring to overturn this poor performance.

United, getting forward again, were getting chances in the box. Matic, shooting from outside the box won a corner after the ball was deflected but nothing came of that set-piece. Young was booked in the 58th minute for a challenge with Palace possibly thankful of that after United put some pressure on them, which was pressure they could not deal with.

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Just after the hour mark of the match, Mourinho was readying both Luke Shaw and Juan Mata to come on and try to change the game. Shaw needed to give the best performance of his life just to stop Young from being picked again. Benteke had a chance to score for Palace but his header was off target. Palace did deserve another goal though, especially after this United performance.

I would imagine that Liverpool will be salivating ahead of Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford, especially if this United turn up for the match. At the other end of the pitch, Pogba had a chance to find the equaliser for United, Hennessey making the save. Mourinho then made a double change with Shaw replacing Young and Mata replacing Valencia. United going all out attack?

In the 73rd minute of the match, United were pressing Palace in the final third. Jesse Lingard played the ball into the box but could not find the equaliser for United. Moments later, United were denied an equaliser after Matic’s shot was cleared off the line. United applied more pressure to the home side and were getting somewhere but not close enough to cancel out both of Palace’s goals.

United found that equaliser in the 76th minute of the match with Romelu Lukaku scoring the important goal. Sanchez shot from the edge of the box and the ball deflected up and hit the crossbar. Lukaku then reacted quickly and fired a low shot from ten yards out. This was what United needed to do during the entire match. It is game on and three points are possible. De Gea made a good save just after.

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After the equaliser, United started to press more but so did Palace. United needed to do so much better to return to second in the league. Right now, at 2-2, United were level on points (60) with Liverpool, but the Merseyside club have a better goal difference (+2), keeping them in second. There were three minutes of added time at the end of the match, enough for another goal?

Nemanja Matic scored a sublime first goal for his club in stoppage time from 30-yards out, hitting the ball sweetly on the volley and it swerving into the net past Hennessey, who made the dive to deter the ball from hitting the back of the net. It was not the best game United have played, but in the second half, after the changes, United looked hungry, slightly and went for the win.

Crystal Palace should be ashamed. They were 2-0 up and United were playing like they had never played a match together before. Now United are back in second place, two points better off than Liverpool, United’s next opposition at Old Trafford at the weekend. Mourinho will be happy with the result, perhaps not the performance.

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Key Moments:

11′ Andros Townsend scored the opening goal of the match after being passed the ball inside the box by Christian Benteke and sending his shot on target. Victor Lindelof got the deflection though, which sent the ball past David De Gea. Townsend would have probably scored with his shot anyway.

48′ Crystal Palace went 2-0 up after Patrick van Aanholt scored after being played onside by Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling turning his back to the player and him running past him, unchallenged and firing past David De Gea. It was another poor defensive performance for Manchester United.

55′ Chris Smalling scores a header to get a goal back for Manchester United after Antonio Valencia put a sublime ball into the box for the defender to hit the back of the net. 2-1 to Palace still.

76′ Romelu Lukaku scored the equaliser for Manchester United after Alexis Sanchez fired his shot from outside the box, the ball deflecting and hitting the crossbar. Lukaku reacted quickly by firing his shot low into the back of the net.

90+1′ Just at the time when a draw seemed to be the result Nemanja Matic pulls one out of the bag from 30-yards out. Hitting the ball sweetly from the volley and the ball curling slightly passed Wayne Hennessey, who made the dive to save the shot. United had won the match 3-2, coming back from 2-0 down. Roy Hodgson must be gutted.

Man of the Match: Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder is my Man of the Match in the 3-2 victory over Palace. His stunning 30-yard volleyed strike past Wayne Hennessey in the dying seconds of the match will be something to remember, especially being his first goal for United. Jose Mourinho may not be happy with the all-round performance of his team, but a win is a win, no matter how it comes.

Match Statistics:

Goals: Chris Smalling 55′, Romelu Lukaku 76′, Nemanja Matic 90+1′

Assists: Antonio Valencia 55′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia (Mata 67′), Lindelof, Smalling, Young (Shaw 67′); McTominay (Rashford 46′), Matic, Pogba; Sanchez, Lukaku, Lingard

Substitutes Not Used: J. Pereira; Bailly, Darmian; Carrick

Bookings: Scott McTominay 42′, Ashley Young 58′, Nemanja Matic 90+2′


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