Cherries surrender lead at Old Trafford
- Mike Dean
Mason Greenwood’s double led Manchester United to victory over AFC Bournemouth as Eddie Howe’s team ruffled a few feathers at Old Trafford today.
Despite tasting defeat, the visitors stunned the hosts by taking a first-half lead in an incident-packed contest which was filled with VAR reviews.
Trailing 3-1 at the break, the Cherries threatened a comeback when Joshua King netted from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 early in the second half.
And just minutes later, Howe’s team looked to have scored a dramatic equaliser, only for Arnaut Danjuma’s effort to be ruled out for offside.
The Cherries made a promising start when Junior Stanislas drew first blood with a finely-taken individual goal after 16 minutes.
Stanislas netted his first goal of the season, firing home from a tight angle having nutmegged United skipper Harry Maguire in the lead up.
But the Cherries’ hopes of springing a surprise were short-lived as the Red Devils roared back to reach the interval 3-1 in front.
Firstly, Greenwood levelled with a rasping left-foot strike before Marcus Rashford put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, the goals coming in the space of five minutes.
And in first-half stoppage time, a stunning effort from Anthony Martial gave United a two-goal cushion, the Frenchman curling the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.
However, a frenetic start to the second half gave the visitors renewed optimism when King reduced the arrears from the penalty spot just four minutes after the restart.
And the Cherries thought they had levelled just minutes later, only for Danjuma’s effort to be ruled out for offside.
But Greenwood’s well-executed second in the 54th minute and a Bruno Fernandes free-kick five minutes later put Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team in the ascendancy.
Diego Rico was handed his first taste of action since the season resumed, the Spaniard drafted in as boss Eddie Howe was forced into a defensive reshuffle.
Rico, who last featured against Sheffield United in February, started at left-back with Lloyd Kelly moving into the centre to partner Nathan Ake, who took the captain’s armband.
Stand-in skipper Steve Cook was ruled out due to a minor hamstring problem, while Chris Mepham was a late withdrawal due to injury.
Lewis Cook and Stanislas were elevated to the starting line-up having come off the bench against Newcastle, while Arnaut Danjuma and Philip Billing were named among the substitutes.
The Cherries, bidding to end United’s 15-match unbeaten run, made an encouraging start and had their share of possession during the early stages.
But they conceded the first scoring opportunity after ten minutes when Bruno Fernandes lifted a gilt-edged chance over the crossbar having been picked out by Rashford.
Cherries goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale raced off his line to save at the feet of Victor Lindelof after the Swedish defender had looked to profit from a ricochet.
The visitors stunned the hosts by opening the scoring when Stanislas displayed some sublime skills to make the breakthrough in the 16th minute.
Having seen his initial effort blocked by Maguire, Stanislas then nutmegged the United defender and squeezed the ball past David de Gea at his near post from an acute angle.
As United looked for a quick reply, Ramsdale pulled off a top-drawer save to push Rashford’s free-kick from 25 yards around the upright.
And from the resultant corner, taken by Fernandes, Lindelof saw his header drift harmlessly over the crossbar.
United levelled when Greenwood rifled an unstoppable left-foot strike past Ramsdale from just inside the 18-yard box in the 29th minute.
The teenage frontman registered his 14th goal of the season having been fed on the left-hand side by Fernandes.
Jefferson Lerma was booked for a foul on Martial before referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot after the ball had struck Adam Smith on the arm.
And although Ramsdale guessed correctly and dived to his left, Rashford found the bottom corner with his 29th-minute penalty.
United extended their lead on the stroke of half-time when Martial curled a delightful right-foot shot into the top corner from 20 yards, giving Ramsdale no chance.
David Brooks, who took a knock towards the end of the first half, was replaced by Danjuma at the break, while Eric Bailly came on for Lindelof.
Danjuma made an instant impact when he was in the thick of the action as the Cherries made a flying start to the second half.
Firstly, the Dutchman was involved in the build up when Dominic Solanke’s darting run eventually led to a chance for Cook.
And after de Gea had dived full length to his right to parry the midfielder’s shot, Danjuma seized on the loose ball and hit the base of the post from the tightest of angles.
The Cherries reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after United substitute Bailly had been judged to have handled.
And following a lengthy review by VAR, the decision was upheld, allowing King to confidently beat de Gea from 12 yards to make it 3-2.
The Cherries were convinced they had levelled just two minutes later, only for Danjuma’s effort to be ruled out for offside.
To compound the visitors’ misfortune, United added a fourth when Greenwood dispatched another ferocious effort past Ramsdale nine minutes into the second period.
Fernandes got in on the act when his thunderous 59th-minute free-kick made it 5-2, with VAR deeming Nemanja Matic had not been offside when the Portuguese took aim.
The video assistant referee again intervened when Rashford had the ball in the back of the net after 65 minutes, his effort ruled out for offside.
A triple substitution midway through the second half saw Solanke, Stanislas and Cook replaced by Billing, Dan Gosling and Harry Wilson.
Jack Stacey replaced Smith in the 77th minute before Kelly’s timely tackle prevented Daniel James from going clear on goal.
Ramsdale made a smart save to keep out a Luke Shaw shot and made a superb parry to prevent Pogba’s free-kick making it 6-2 in added time before he also kept out Fred's strike.