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Report: Palace slip to late Old Trafford defeat

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Fred 77'
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A stunning late goal from Fred saw Palace fall to defeat against Manchester United, after a spirited defensive display at Old Trafford

Summary

  • Gallagher slides in to force the ball behind as Ronaldo looked set to pull the trigger.

  • Fred’s shot looks goalbound, but Tomkins gets in bravely to block

  • Ayew shoots from distance, but De Gea watches it wide.

  • HT: Man Utd 0-0 Palace

  • Kouyaté heads over from Gallagher’s whipped-in free-kick

  • Telles' free-kick clips the top of the crossbar from the angle.

  • Ayew fires inches wide from the angle.

  • Fred gives Man Utd the lead, curling a first-time effort past Guaita.

  • FT: Man Utd 1-0 Palace

It was a tough opening period for the Eagles as a resurgent Man Utd, roared on by a crowd buoyed by the arrival of Ralf Rangnick in the dugout, pressed high. The hosts dominated much of the early possession, and Alex Telles registered the first effort on goal with a rasping drive wide after just a couple of minutes.

Palace’s defensive shape was resilient however, helped in no small part by the tireless efforts of Conor Gallagher and Cheikhou Kouyaté in midfield. Marcus Rashford broke forwards and slid the ball across the area towards Cristiano Ronaldo, but Gallagher arrived just in time to force it behind as he was about to pull the trigger.

The visitors threat on the break was always present, and the slightest mistake in the United midfield would see yellow shirts pouring forwards. Chief among them was Wilfried Zaha, almost finding Christian Benteke in the area before the flag was raised for offside

Man Utd’s full-backs were a major source of creativity for the home side. Diogo Dalot crossed well towards Ronaldo, the ball falling to Jadon Sancho. His pass found Fred on the edge of the area, whose goalbound effort was blocked bravely by James Tomkins. It looked for all the world like Guaita was beaten.

Ronaldo was a constant threat for United, nodding down for Bruno Fernandes to force a smart save from Guaita.

Palace found a foothold in the game as half-time approached. Zaha and Ayew switched sides, with the former finding space on the right. Drifting inside, he found Ayew in a more central position; the Ghanaian shot from distance, but David de Gea watched it past the base of the post.

Goalless at half-time, but a reminder of the Eagles’ potency on the break.

After the restart Palace had greater success in frustrating the hosts, forcing a number of mistakes as they pushed ever-further forwards. Zaha and Ayew were a nuisance for the United midfield, and the latter won a free-kick on the edge of the box which Kouyaté narrowly headed over the top.

At the other end, Gallagher was once again the man in the right place as Rashford worked to find a modicum of space in the area, eventually crowded out by the England midfielder. United won a free-kick of their own, with Telles’ effort clipping the bar from the angle.

With 15 minutes remaining, Palace created by far the best chance of the afternoon. As Tomkins nodded Tyrick Mitchell’s corner back across the face of goal, Ayew waited unmarked at the opposite post. He tried to squeeze the ball home from the angle, but saw it fall agonizingly wide.

The Eagles would come to rue the chance moments later, as Man Utd took the lead. Mason Greenwood was heavily involved, killing a powerful ball in the penalty area before teeing up Fred just outside the D; the Brazilian’s curling first-time effort evaded Guaita’s outstretched fingertips.

Patrick Vieira left no stone unturned in search of an equaliser, throwing on Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze to bolster the attack.

In added time, Zaha raced in behind the United defence, brought down by Lindelof 25-yards out. Palace piled the pressure on from the resulting free-kick, winning corner after corner as United sought to clear.

In the end it wasn't enough, and Palace slipped to defeat despite a spirited defensive display.

Man Utd: De Gea (GK), Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof, Telles, McTominay, Fred, Rashford (Elanga, 76), Fernandes (Van de Beek, 86), Sancho (Greenwood, 62), Ronaldo.

Subs not used: Henderson (GK), Bailly, Jones, Mata, Wan-Bissaka, Matic.

Palace: Guaita (GK), Clyne, Tomkins, Guéhi, Mitchell, Kouyaté (Eze, 84), Gallagher, Schlupp, Ayew (Olise, 84), Benteke (Edouard, 66), Zaha.

Subs not used: Butland (GK), Milivojevic, Hughes, Mateta, Kelly, Riedewald.