Manchester United 1:0 Leicester City
An eighth minute Rashford penalty proved to be the difference between City and United in a disappointing game at Old Trafford on Saturday…
Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his side with Gray, handed his first start of the season, and Choudhury in for Barnes and Albrighton.
Rarely had City travelled to Old Trafford with such a sense of expectation, and there was the added edge of Harry Maguire, who was booed by the travelling fans.
But it was United who went close in the 2nd minute. Ricardo floored James on the edge of the area and Pereira’s free-kick was heading just inside the near post before Schmeichel beat it away, colliding heavily with the post. It left him limping, but he soon recovered.
Two minutes later there was a chance at the other end. A huge ball forward by Schmeichel was nodded on by Vardy. Maddison outmanoeuvred Lindelöf and fired a shot from 8 yards that de Gea blocked with his knee.
But it was United who took an 8th minute lead. Söyüncü and Rashford chased a ball in the penalty area that was heading away from goal. Söyüncü challenged and got the ball, but Rashford made the most of the contact and Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot.
Rashford sent Schmeichel the wrong way to put United ahead.
The home side had their tails up for a spell and City were on the back foot, unable to put any moves together.
In a rare move forward Gray broke into the box but his progress was halted by Lindelöf.
Atkinson was incurring the wrath of the City fans, allowing several United fouls to pass, and then halting play with City on the attack, when James went down injured.
City began to press forward on the half hour and won a series of corners. One of them was half cleared to Chilwell on the edge of the area and he chested it down and launched a dipping shot, which de Gea clawed out from under the bar.
City dominated possession up to the break, but struggled to create any chances. Söyüncü had a shot charged down and it went meekly through to de Gea. Choudhury then combined well with Gray down the right, but his near post shot didn’t test the United keeper and City went in a goal down at the break.
Early in the second half Vardy out-witted Maguire down the right and flashed a low ball across goal, but no one was there to take advantage.
It was perhaps the only moment that Vardy had got the better of Maguire all game.
At the other end James cut in from the left and fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area. Mata then forced a save from Schmeichel as United enjoyed a decent spell.
Tielemans was then fouled on the edge of the area, but Maddison sent his free-kick narrowly wide.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 57th minute, bringing Pérez on for Choudhury.
On hour Tielemans lined up a long-range effort but it flew high and wide of the target.
City had the lion’s share of possession by now, but couldn’t find a way through.
Barnes replaced Gray in the 66th minute.
Maddison earned a yellow card for a foul on McTominay, his frustration boiling over after they had clashed all afternoon.
With 8 minutes remaining United almost went further ahead when Rashford rattled the angle of post and bar with a 30-yard free kick.
City’s best chance of an equaliser came in time-added-on. A Pérez cross from the right was nodded away by Maguire but sat up for Ndidi. His shot went a yard wide of the right hand post.
City’s unbeaten run was over, and an opportunity to beat an under-strength United side had been missed.
Brendan Rodgers summed up: “I thought we deserved something from the game. We didn’t start well but we had a great chance to take the lead. We gave away a soft penalty and that ultimately decided the game. In the second half, we played well and it looked like it was coming but we couldn’t find that last pass.”
Man Utd: de Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Young, McTominay, Matic (Fred 67), Pereira, Mata (Chong 70), James (Tuanzebe 90), Rashford.
Substitutes: Jones, Fred, Romero, Greenwood, Gomes.
Leicester: Schmeichel: Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Gray (Barnes 68), Tielemans, Choudhury (Pérez 57), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Praet.
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Attendance: 73,689.
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