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PIX: Man United clinches draw at Tottenham on EPL return

June 20, 2020 08:18 IST
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Fernandes penalty earns United a point at Tottenham

Manchester United

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur's Serge Aurier in action with Manchester United's Fred, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Reuters

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes fired home a late penalty to rescue a point for the visitors in a lively 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Friday.

It had looked as though Dutchman Steven Bergwijn’s first-half strike would prove enough to revive Tottenham’s faltering hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

 

But United, with Paul Pogba on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance since January because of injury, stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12.

Pogba immediately added some spark to United’s play and it was his dribble that forced a clumsy tackle by Eric Dier to concede the penalty that Fernandes fired past Hugo Lloris.

United thought they had another penalty awarded in stoppage time when Fernandes went over under challenge from Dier but VAR rightly reversed the decision to the home side’s relief.

Tottenham Hotspur

IMAGE: Spurs remained in eighth spot on 42 points while United are fifth on 46. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Reuters

Spurs remained in eighth spot on 42 points while United are fifth on 46, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

The usual pre-match music bellowed around the empty 62,000-seater stadium, but after the whistle blew an eerie silence descended — the new normal in the Premier League since the restart from the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the lack of atmosphere there was no lack of energy on the field in an often feisty clash.

Marcus Rashford, who used the long break to recover from a back injury, almost gave United the lead after 21 minutes when his close-range volley was kept out by Lloris’s legs.

It was Tottenham who went ahead though shortly afterwards.

Bergwijn marked his Spurs debut with a superb strike against Manchester City in February and showed again why the club signed him from PSV Eindhoven in the January transfer window.

His strike after a surging run was fierce but straight at David de Gea who could only deflect it into the net.

The Spanish keeper did much better soon after when he tipped Son Heung-min’s header over the bar.

Pogba replaced the ineffective Fred just past the hour and United were immediately more dangerous.

Twice Anthony Martial looked certain to equalise, first when Dier made a sliding interception to block his shot and then when Lloris produced a stunning flying save.

Victory would have launched Spurs back into the hunt for a top-five finish but Dier’s rash tackle left them frustrated.

It could have been worse for Jose Mourinho’s side. After their VAR let-off United substitute Mason Greenwood went agonisingly close to snatching a winner.

Southampton thrash basement side Norwich 3-0 away

Norwich City

IMAGE: Norwich City's Josip Drmic shoots, as play resumes behind closed doors. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Reuters

Southampton hammered bottom side Norwich City 3-0 after scoring twice in five minutes soon after the break and adding another late on in their Premier League game at Carrow Road on Friday.

Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond all netted as Saints notched their seventh away win of the season and left Norwich on 21 points, six adrift of the safety zone and having played a game more than their relegation rivals.

Ings struck the bar in the first half but made no mistake with a curling effort inside the penalty area in the 49th minute to open the scoring with his 16th league goal of the season.

Armstrong finished with an accurate shot, squeezed just inside the left-hand post and outstretched arm of goalkeeper Tim Krul, for the second in the 54th after the visitors had broken away quickly and caught the home defence scrambling.

It could have been even worse for the hosts minutes later when new Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse had an effort cleared off the line by Max Aarons.

But Redmond did eventually add to the scoreline with a deserved goal after a fine individual performance, dropping his shoulder to round the Norwich defence and shooting across the keeper to net in the 79th minute.

The victory lifted Southampton above Newcastle United into 13th place on 37 points from 30 games and was fully deserved on the basis of their strong second-half showing.

It could have been a lot different had Norwich taken their early chances, notably one for Josip Drmic, the Swiss international making his first start since signing at the start of the season from Borussia Moenchengladbach.

He showed his rustiness as the ball got stuck under his feet after he was smartly cued up by Teemu Pukki in the eighth minute.

Pukki had a good chance of his own from close range midway through the second half but was blocked by Jan Bednarek in what was characteristic of a tired-looking performance by Norwich.

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