- Man Utd vs Fulham

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Sunday 9 February 2014 | Old Trafford | Referee: Kevin Friend | Attendance 74,966

Man Utd
  • Robin van Persie (78)
  • Michael Carrick (80)
Man Utd
2 - 2
  • Steve Sidwell (19)
  • Darren Bent (90+4)

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Match report

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Darren Bent's added-time equaliser helped last-placed Fulham claim a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Sunday.

Half-time substitute Bent headed in during the fourth minute of stoppage time as Man United's comeback, led by late goals by Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick, was ultimately denied.

Fulham – who sit bottom of the Barclays Premier League table and had lost their last 11 trips to Old Trafford – claimed a shock lead in the 19th minute through Steve Sidwell.

United struggled to break down a resolute Fulham side for long spells, and they were staring down the barrel of a ninth Barclays Premier League defeat of the season at one stage as goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg excelled.

But Van Persie then swept in Juan Mata's attempted shot from three yards at the far post in the 78th minute and, less than two minutes later, Carrick's deflected strike from outside the penalty area sailed into the top corner.

That seemed to have swung the game and spared United boss David Moyes' blushes, with the Scot celebrating the second United goal emphatically on the pitch.

Fulham, though, produced a late sucker-punch for Moyes, as Kieran Richardson's shot – which was parried by David de Gea – was nodded in by Bent.

The reigning Barclays Premier League champions are now nine points adrift of the fourth-placed Liverpool, with the result another blow to their hopes of qualifying for next season's UEFA Champions League.

After announcing he will quit Old Trafford at the end of the season, Nemanja Vidic returned from a three-match suspension to captain the side, while Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen swung the axe with a bold team selection after four consecutive Barclays Premier League defeats.

The former Man United assistant manager gave new signings Johnny Heitinga and Ryan Tunnicliffe their Fulham debuts and 18-year-old forward Muamer Tankovic made his first Barclays Premier League start.

However, there was no place for fellow recent signing Kostas Mitroglou, while Brede Hangeland and Scott Parker were only on the bench.

Fulham's intention was obvious from the initial stages, as they sat deep and invited their opponents to attack, but they took a shock lead on a rare foray forward through Sidwell.

Lewis Holtby, making just his second appearance since arriving on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, lofted a perfect ball into the penalty area for Sidwell, who did not have to break stride before cushioning a volley into the bottom corner.

Van Persie shot over and Carrick volleyed wide as United pressed for an equaliser, but they were nearly two goals behind as a quick counter-attack, led by Tankovic, saw Richardson blaze over when one-on-one with goalkeeper De Gea.

Fulham's Stekelenburg then made a superb save at the other end, keeping out a fierce Carrick effort that made its way through a crowd of bodies, and Van Persie's follow-up was turned wide for a corner – from which Vidic headed straight at the Netherlands keeper.

Wayne Rooney drew an outstanding save from Stekelenburg nine minutes into the second half, with the Fulham man showing great reactions to turn the ball over from close range.

The home crowd grew more and more frustrated as their side's consistent decision to cross rarely troubled Dan Burn and fellow Fulham centre-back Heitinga.

Van Persie's great positioning finally drew United level though, and Old Trafford then erupted when Adnan Januzaj's cross was not cleared properly and Carrick struck, via a deflection.

However, Bent had the last laugh, reacting quickest after Richardson – who was played in by the excellent Sidwell – saw his shot parried to end a thrilling contest.

Manchester United manager David Moyes: "It's been a bit like that this season. Today was as bad as it gets. We dominated the game. Being one down was bad enough. The amount of attempts, chances and play we had was unbelievable. How we didn't win I have no idea.

"It's goals that count. You can have as much possession as you like. We should have scored more. You've got to try and keep making it work. The players tried that today and eventually the goals did come and I was more disappointed we didn't make it 3-1.

"It was a bit of carelessness at the back and we could have cleared the ball but didn't and it cost us.

"We should have won. A couple of lapses cost us a bit. We had to defend probably three or four times for the whole game. Sometimes that happens in football."

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen: "We set out as everyone can see, we made it very difficult for them. They have some problems of their own in that respect. They kept creating chances and crosses but we defended fantastically well.

"You think at the end all the hard work will slip away. But at the end, for Darren Bent to score that equaliser it felt like a winner.

"The most important thing is we got a point. A lot of people were classifying us as dead and buried. We have far too much quality and team spirit to be down there where we are."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. David de Gea 4.94 5.85
3. Patrice Evra 5.15 5.52
12. Chris Smalling 4.03 4.97
2. Rafael 3.9 4.86
15. Nemanja Vidic 4.14 5.48
24. Darren Fletcher 4.0 5.54
10. Wayne Rooney 6.25 7.32
18. Ashley Young 4.69 4.73
16. Michael Carrick 6.42 5.57
8. Juan Mata 7.31 6.62
20. Robin van Persie 7.22 6.8
Substitutes All Fans BFR
14. Javier Hernández 5.44 5.59
26. Shinji Kagawa 4.83 6.28
11. Ryan Giggs 2.38 5.38
13. Anders Lindegaard 4.29 3.86
25. Luis Antonio Valencia 4.27 5.52
44. Adnan Januzaj 6.79 6.68
5. Rio Ferdinand 3.4 4.96
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Maarten Stekelenburg 7.05 5.59
27. Sascha Riether 5.12 4.79
33. Dan Burn 5.0 4.42
3. John Arne Riise 5.11 4.66
4. Johnny Heitinga 5.07 4.38
7. Steve Sidwell 7.05 4.97
15. Kieran Richardson 4.93 4.26
19. Ryan Tunnicliffe 4.79 4.89
6. William Kvist 4.62 4.25
43. Muamer Tankovic 4.64 4.33
10. Lewis Holtby 6.61 4.36
Substitutes All Fans BFR
11. Alexander Kacaniklic 2.8 4.24
5. Brede Hangeland 4.0 4.48
16. Damien Duff 3.33 4.29
13. David Stockdale 6.0 4.09
28. Scott Parker 4.5 4.71
21. Larnell Cole 5.17 5.14
39. Darren Bent 7.87 5.57

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