Manchester United earned another 1-1 draw with Stoke with a ridiculously late goal from Wayne Rooney, but the Red Devils have no excuses for not winning the match. United started off well but were thrown off by an early own goal from Juan Mata. The Red Devils had many chances to win the game before Rooney’s late free-kick to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s record, but the referee also did United over with a few appalling decisions that cost United the other two points to take them within two of Liverpool.
United fans, having watched the game, will be upset with two things. Firstly, there is no reason why Michael Carrick should’ve impacted that result- the Red Devils had almost 30 chances to score and failed to take any of them for the first 93 minutes, and United won’t make the top four if that type of finishing continues. Secondly, the referees, specifically Mark Clattenburg, have cost United enough points to put them in the title race this season, as Marcus Rashford was slapped today and did not earn a penalty, and Shawcross controlled the ball with his hand in Pogba fashion. However, nobody remembers when the referees hurt Manchester United, but only remember when United gets one or two lucky decisions that are still debatably correct. Onto summarising the match, though, United played out an exciting encounter at a loud and motivated Britannia Stadium, against a formidable Stoke side.
The match was tight in early stages until Stoke City found the opening goal from a tight angle. A cross from Erik Pieters was deflected into the goal by Juan Mata and David De Gea, and United was behind against the run of play. After Liverpool’s loss and needing to win the match, United struggled to impose themselves inside a noisy Britannia Stadium.
Juan Mata, the scorer of the own goal, missed a key chance to level up proceedings after a wonderful play from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic created an open goal for the Spaniard. However, he managed to blaze the ball over the crossbar. With many more chances to score in the half, including a miscue from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, United was rightly disappointed to be down at half-time.
Marouane Fellaini was replaced by Marcus Rashford early in the second half as the Red Devils searched for an equaliser. Attacking with an admirable level of verve and fluidity, it seemed obvious that the Red Devils would get their goal, but it still hadn’t happened. After 70 minutes and with Jesse Lingard coming on, United still needed a goal, let alone the second.
Wayne Rooney broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s record with an incredible free-kick into the top corner, but it was in the 94th minute, and United had no time to move on and win the game. After being denied two clear penalties, United will feel hard done by Clattenburg once again, but the Red Devils should’ve taken their chances and not depended on Rooney to earn a point.
Goals: Wayne Rooney 90+4′
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind; Fellaini (Rashford 56′), Herrera; Mata (Rooney 67′), Pogba, Mkhitaryan (Lingard 73′); Ibrahimovic
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian; Carrick, Schweinsteiger