A rare error from Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea allowed Stoke City to snatch a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
Wales international midfielder Joe Allen, who was earlier on the receiving end of a dreadful high tackle from Ander Herrera, was the beneficiary from De Gea’s blunder eight minutes from time.
Stoke edge up to second bottom ahead of Sunderland with their share of the spoils, for which they are largely indebted to their own keeper Lee Grant.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard were improbably denied by Grant during a first half when United played with far greater fluency than in Thursday’s laboured 1-0 Europa League win over Zorya. Captain Wayne Rooney was a second-half substitute once more.
France international Paul Pogba was guilty of missed chances in a game where Jose Mourinho’s side were regularly in the ascendancy and he was unable to add to compatriot Anthony Martial’s 67th minute opener in the final minute when he thudded a Marcus Rashford cross against the bar.
United lie sixth in the Premier League, five points behind Manchester City ahead of the leaders’ clash with second-place Tottenham later on Sunday.
Grant saved magnificently, low down to his right, in the second minute after Pogba danced past Xherdan Shaqiri to cutely play in Ibrahimovic.
Eric Bailly made a vital clearance from Marko Arnautovic’s cross and there was further encouragement for the visitors in the ninth minute when Geoff Cameron shot too close to De Gea.
Pogba should have opened the scoring in the 16th minute after an Ibrahimovic backheel and a pass from Rashford gave the France international space in the Stoke box, but he steered wide.
Grant remained by far the more occupied of the two goalkeepers however, tipping a Juan Mata chip behind before watching on helplessly as a scandalously unmarked Pogba planted his header wide from the resulting corner.
United’s dominance of possession yielded further chances around the half hour, as Grant produced his best work so far to thwart Lingard at close quarters before Ibrahimovic got on the end of Lingard’s cross and found Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross in his way with a vital block.
Allen shrugged off his clash with Herrera in the 55th minute to link smoothly with Arnautovic and call De Gea into action, while Grant grasped a skidding Mata drive at the second attempt before Mourinho called on Rooney in the 65th minute.
But it was the England skipper’s fellow replacement Martial who would stylishly strike 163 second on from his introduction, ending a 10-game drought in all competitions
Not for the first time, Shaqiri was careless on the ball and, as United drove forward, Martial found possession on the left and collected the loose ball when Cameron challenged Rooney to delightfully pick out the top corner.
United looked to press home their advantage, with Bruno Martins Indi blocking from fellow Dutchman Daley Blind before Grant thwarted Ibrahimovic once more.
And there would be conflicting goalkeeping emotions at the other end as De Gea fumbled Glen Johnson’s speculative strike, sub Jon Walters scrambled against the bar and Allen thumped into an unguarded net.
The goal prompted boisterous celebrations from the under-fire Hughes, whose side moved off the bottom after Pogba’s near miss.
Key Opta stats:
– Manchester United have won 13 points from their opening seven games this season; three fewer than their total at this stage of 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal.
– Mark Hughes has failed to win his last 10 Premier League matches against Manchester United at Old Trafford as a visiting manager (D1 L9).
– Stoke have failed to win any of their opening seven games to a top-flight season for the first time since 1973-74.
– Joe Allen scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2011.
– Lee Grant made eight saves versus Manchester United; the joint-most by a goalkeeper in a Premier League game this season.
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