Manchester United Snatch Late Draw Against Balchy Burnley

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Burnley at Old Trafford on December 26, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
Manchester United Snatch Late Draw Against Balchy Burnley
Jesse Lingard’s stoppage-time strike denied Burnley a famous win at Old Trafford but he could not stop Manchester United’s fading title hopes from suffering another blow.
Ashley Barnes fired the Clarets ahead after three minutes when Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s free-kick was not cleared, and Steven Defour made it 2-0 with a superb 30-yard free-kick into the top corner.
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Lingard came off the bench for the second half and quickly reduced the deficit with a clever back-heel finish from an Ashley Young cross.
Manchester United had 75% of possession after the break but struggled to turn their pressure into clear chances until the ball broke to Lingard on the edge of the area in the 91st minute, and he fired into the bottom corner.
Lingard’s goal was a dramatic end to a thrilling game but still represents two points dropped for United, who conceded a late equaliser against Leicester on Saturday.
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Jose Mourinho’s side are 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, who play Newcastle on Wednesday.
The Manchester United manager was unhappy with his side’s defending for Burnley’s first goal, but praised the way they recovered from going 2-0 down.
“The boys do what they can,” Mourinho said. “They are trying hard with the problems we have, with the injuries we have.
“I am not happy with the result, I was not happy with the result against Leicester, but I am happy with my players. No critics to my players.”
Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic started up front together for the first time, but their partnership only lasted for 45 minutes before Mourinho decided he needed something different up front.
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It was Ibrahimovic’s first Premier League start of the season and, although he scored his first goal of the campaign in last week’s Carabao Cup defeat by Bristol City, he looks well short of his best form after returning from a serious knee ligament injury.
The 36-year-old also lacks pace, something that Lingard injected into the Manchester United attack when he was brought on at half-time.
Lukaku’s performance was just as underwhelming, however. He managed only effort at goal – a header from near the penalty spot that ended up a long way off target.
The Belgian was kept quiet by the Burnley defence throughout and, if not for Lingard’s two moments of magic, the result would have been even more damaging for United.
Lingard scored twice but would have been off the mark earlier if not for a wonderful save from Nick Pope, who denied him from point-blank range before the ball bounced to safety off the crossbar.
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Burnley came within minutes of their first win at Old Trafford since 1962, but still left with a point and immense credit.
This was a backs-against-the-wall performance that at times was reminiscent of the 0-0 draw they earned in the same fixture last season, when United had 37 shots without scoring.
United had 23 this time, which represents progress of sorts for the Clarets, but determined defending and some superb saves from Nick Pope were not the only reason they earned another draw.
Defour’s free-kick was a sublime strike that left David de Gea clutching at thin air as he tried in vain to keep it out, and a reminder of the quality that has taken Sean Dyche’s side to seventh place in the table.

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An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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