An outstanding performance from goalkeeper Tom Heaton against his former club helped Burnley to earn a 0-0 Premier League draw away to Manchester United, who finished with 10 men on Saturday following Ander Herrera’s sending off.
United, who also had manager Jose Mourinho sent to the stands at half-time, controlled the play and carved out a host of chances, but were unable to get past the sublime Heaton.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata in particular will wonder how they failed to find the back of the net, as the visitors weathered the storm to take a valuable point.
Their cause was helped by the careless dismissal of Herrera, who was booked for late tackles on Dean Marney in each half to receive his marching orders with 22 minutes to go.
The result leaves United winless in their last four Premier League games ahead of a trip to Swansea City, while Burnley are unbeaten in two, with the visit of Crystal Palace to Turf Moor their next assignment.
Heaton was undeniably the man of the match, pulling off a string of impressive saves to show the Old Trafford faithful what they missed out on, the former academy player having never made a senior appearance during his five years at United from 2005 to 2010.
He was called into action to deny the dangerous Ibrahimovic and Mata on several occasions in the first half, while Paul Pogba also tested the palms of the one-cap England international with a speculative drive from long range.
The best stop of the opening 45 minutes saw Heaton tip a Jesse Lingard header over the bar from Herrera’s cross three minutes before half-time, before Matteo Darmian, making his first appearance of the season in place of the injured Antonio Valencia, had hopeful appeals for a penalty waved away.
Mourinho’s vociferous complaints to the match officials saw him sent off, the Portuguese watching the second half among the supporters behind the United bench.
Despite being forced to use notes to communicate with his staff, the hosts continued to dominate possession and created all of the chances, Heaton producing yet more heroics to keep out Mata and Lingard with a smart double save.
His most eye-catching intervention arrived just past the hour mark, Heaton jumping and spreading himself in a manner reminiscent of United goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel to somehow keep out Ibrahimovic’s acrobatic back-post volley.
A heavy landing on the turf – or perhaps the force of the striker’s venomous shot – left Heaton needing treatment.
While he was able to continue, it was the woodwork that denied United twice in the space of five minutes, Mata hitting the post with a shot and Ibrahimovic’s deflected header striking the crossbar.
Herrera’s second late tackle of the match on Marney duly earned the Spaniard a second yellow card in the 68th minute, leaving United a man light in their attempts to break down Burnley’s stubborn resistance.
A frustrating match for United was summed up in the closing stages, as Daley Blind’s attempt from outside the area was deflected narrowly over, before Ibrahimovic wasted a golden opportunity at the back post. Substitute Wayne Rooney had the final say, sending yet another good chance from a corner over the bar in injury time.
Key Opta stats:
– Manchester United had 37 shots in this match, their most in a Premier League game since 2003-04 (when Opta records began).
– Ander Herrera was shown his first red card in the Premier League, having been sent off five times in La Liga.
– The last time Manchester United were shown a red card at Old Trafford at home in the Premier League was in September 2014 (Wayne Rooney v West Ham).
– Tom Heaton made 11 saves in this game, the joint-most by a keeper in a Premier League game this season (also Heaton v Southampton).
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone six league games without scoring for the first time since December 2007 with Inter Milan.