Manchester United survived a late West Bromwich Albion onslaught to notch a 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon.
Former Baggies forward Romelu Lukaku got the Red Devils underway with a great header in the 27th minute before Lingard doubled the advantage only eight minutes later with a deflected effort from distance. Substitute Gareth Barry bundled the ball home in the closing stages to give Alan Pardew’s men hope but United clung on to claim back-to-back victories.
Lukaku haunts former club again
Following a somewhat low-key start to the match, Albion keeper, Ben Foster, who was making his 200th appearance for the Baggies, had to deal with an awkward Kieran Gibbs clearance from an Ashley Young cross. The hosts then had a fantastic opportunity as Jonny Evans found space at a corner but his header looped over the bar.
Romelu Lukaku, who had netted the winner against Bournemouth at Old Trafford last time out, then opened the scoring for the Red Devils with their first real chance on goal. Finding space between Evans and Gibbs, the Belgian connected with an excellent Marcus Rashford cross and thundered a powerful header past Foster.
Allan Nyom breezed past Rashord as the Baggies hunted for an equaliser. His tempting low cross though just evaded a touch from Salomón Rondón.
Mourinho’s men go for the kill before the break
The one-goal advantage at the Hawthorns was soon doubled by Jesse Lingard. Surrounded on the edge of the West Brom box, the 25-year-old shot at goal. The ball taking a huge deflection off of Ahmed Hegazi, spun up over the goalkeeper and into the net to double United’s advantage.
West Brom boss Alan Pardew made an alteration at the break and substituted Claudio Yacob in place of Gareth Barry, who was making his return from a thigh injury. It could have paid off as Ollie Burke ran into space down the left side. The former Nottingham Forest man crossed to Salomón Rondón but the ball was just behind the Venezuelan.
Some flight from the Baggies
Albion introduced Jay Rodríguez and Chris Brunt to the fore in an effort to put the Red Devils under slightly more pressure. Rondon did cause problems in the closing stages but could only put his close range shot into the hands of de Gea with the angle closing. The former Zenit frontman then earned a corner, snatching the hosts a route back into the game in the process. Chris Brunt floated the ball in, and with United failing to clear, Gareth Barry tapped in from yards out.
Rodríguez was then unfortunate to see his diving header fly just wide of goal as Albion looked to get level. Romelu Lukaku had the chance to extend the visitors’ advantage in the closing minutes but could only put his effort wide from inside the box. It did not matter too much in the scheme of things however as United held out to earn victory and cut the gap to Manchester City back to 11 points.
Whilst it was by no means a vintage Manchester United comeback against the Baggies, Lukaku and Lingard both stepped up to secure the victory. They were made to work for their win in the end but were fully deserving of the three points. They travel to the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening in their next league clash.
Alan Pardew meanwhile will be happy with the gutsy showing from his side in the second half. They carried far more threat but were simply not able to find another way past the United defence for an equaliser. They remain in the relegation zone and have a huge game next weekend against fellow struggles Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster (6); Nyom (6), Evans (6), Hegazi (5), Gibbs (6); Livermore (5), Yacob (5) (Barry (6), 45′), Krychowiak (7) (Brunt (6), 72′); McClean (5), Burke (6) (Rodríguez (5), 65′), Rondon (6).
Manchester United: de Gea (7); Valencia (7) (Rojo (6), 66′), Smalling (6), Jones (7), Young (7); Hererra (6), Matić (7), Mata (7); Lingard (8), Rashford (7) (Martial (N/A), 79′), Lukaku (7).
Goals: Lukaku (27′), Lingard (35′), Barry (77′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Rashford (52′), Matic (90′), Rondon (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A
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