Thursday, April 25, 2024

Man United squander lead twice to draw Tottenham


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MANCHESTER, Jan 15: Tottenham twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday as British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe attended his first match since agreeing a deal for a partial takeover at Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe’s agreement to buy a 25% stake and take control of soccer operations has brought some hope to a club that has fallen off the top of the English game under its owners, the Glazer family.
But it is a long way back and fans will continue to protest the Americans’ involvement, no matter how diminished, with Ratcliffe getting a first-hand look at the challenge he is taking on in the draw with Spurs.
The 71-year-old Ratcliffe, who grew up supporting United, sat next to former manager Alex Ferguson in the directors’ box at Old Trafford and only had to wait three minutes to celebrate as summer signing Rasmus Hojlund hammered home a shot into the roof of the net.
Richarlison headed in a 19th-minute equalizer from a corner for his sixth goal in as many Premier League matches, but Marcus Rashford put the hosts back ahead in the 40th after a one-two with Hojlund.
Cristian Romero rattled the United crossbar in stoppage time and, 49 seconds into the second half, Rodrigo Bentancur slammed Spurs level after capitalizing on some sloppy home defending.
Ange Postecoglou’s visitors looked most likely to win it but United avoided a 10th Premier League loss of the season in front of Ratcliffe and his INEOS team.
Things had got off to an ideal start from a United perspective.
Andre Onana, playing his final match before heading off to play in the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon, collected a cross and threw wide to Alejandro Garnacho, who played onto Bruno Fernandes.
The skipper put Rashford behind to drive forward and then cut inside, with Destiny Udogie’s eventual challenge taking the ball into Hojlund’s path rather than halting the counter.
The 20-year-old Dane moved the ball away from Spurs defenders, steadied himself with another touch before firing a left-footed drive into the roof of the net.
Rashford tried to add a second when meeting Christian Eriksen’s deep corner with an unorthodox volley across goal, but Spurs soon awoke from their slumber.
Pedro Porro’s shot may have been easily held but Jonny Evans had to be alert to stop a looping header from Spurs debutant Timo Werner causing problems.
Diogo Dalot cleared Bentancur’s header from the resulting set-piece off the line, but another corner would prove United’s undoing in the 19th minute.
Porro swung in from the left and Richarlison showed strength in a congested six-yard box to glance home, extending Spurs scoring run in the league to a club-record 33rd game.
United’s pressure continued and brought about a 40th-minute goal.
Rashford played a one-two with Hojlund around the edge of the 18-yard box, then followed a touch with a low snapshot into the bottom corner.
The England forward made a talking gesture with his hand as he celebrated, seemingly a message for those questioning him.
Rashford was blocked out as he attempted to add another but Spurs went close in stoppage time, with Romero launching himself to meet a corner and sending a header crashing off the bar.
Postecoglou’s side was not discouraged by that near-miss and drew level moments into the second half.
Werner held the ball up on the left and played across to Bentancur, who drove into the box, past Evans and continued to slam Spurs level.
Richarlison forced a low save out of Onana and Werner hooked over as the visitors looked most likely to score, but they could not capitalize on their many set-pieces.
Villa miss chance to go top
Aston Villa missed a chance to go level on points with Premier League leader Liverpool by drawing 0-0 at Everton in a lackluster match on Sunday.
Emiliano Martinez, Villa’s Argentina goalkeeper, pulled off the best save when he spread his legs to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a one-on-one chance just before halftime. Martinez got up and was soon diving to his left to tip aside a follow-up shot from James Garner.
Villa barely threatened at the other end until late on, though looked to have taken the lead in the 18th when Alex Moreno drilled home a shot from the edge of the area. After a long VAR check, the goal was ruled out for offside in the buildup.
Villa stayed in third place, level on points with Manchester City in second and two behind Liverpool, which doesn’t play until next weekend. (AP)


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