Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes combined in the midfield for Manchester United to earn a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Friday in what was both the teams’ first Premier League game since the resumption of England’s top-flight competition earlier this week.
While United started the game on the front foot, controlling the ball more and creating a greater number of chances, Spurs took the lead in 27th minute at their backyard.
It was a lackadaisical challenge from Marcus Rashford that paved the way for a counter-attack and allowed Steven Bergwijn to smash the ball past David de Gea.
However, Rashford had started the game brilliantly as he got the first genuine chance of the night to score. But he was denied by Hugo Lloris after Fernandes had cut through the Spurs defense. The 25-year-old Fernandes was a lively presence in the midfield throughout the night with his unanticipated runs and acute passes.
The first half, though, did not yield further breakthrough but the urgency in United’s approach was visible right from the word go in the second half. With Pogba’s introduction in the 63rd minute, the Red Devils looked a more competent force than the home team.
The French World Cup winner’s efforts finally paid dividends when he was bundled off the ball by Eric Dier inside the Spurs’ box to hand United a penalty in the 80th minute. Fernandes, the Portugal international, did not make any mistake to fool Spurs goalie Lloris and score the third penalty since his arrival at the Old Trafford.
Dier, meanwhile, was on his way to become the villain of the night as everyone thought that he had provided United another penalty. But VAR showed that he had little contact when he challenged Fernandes inside the box.
However, the tied result did little to the causes of both the teams as they aim to break into the top-four of the points table. The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-led side remained at fifth with three points shy of fourth-placed Chlesea, Mourinho’s men were hit more severely as they failed to move above eighth and stayed four points behind United.
In the other match of the day relegation-threatened Norwich suffered a major blow as Southampton embarrassed them 3-0. Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond scored in the second-half to take their team 10 points clear of the relegation zone, while Norwich stayed six points short from safety.