Report: United 1 West Ham 1
Mason Greenwood secured a point for Manchester United against West Ham at Old Trafford, but it means a nerve-twitching shoot-out with top-four rivals Leicester City on Sunday in the Premier League finale.
The Reds were shocked by a first-half penalty for David Moyes side converted by Michail Antonio but Greenwood answered in the second half.
The 1-1 draw means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side must avoid defeat at the King Power Stadium against the Foxes if we are to secure that Champions League spot for next season.
United are a point ahead of Brendan Rodgers' side who need the win now to snatch the lucrative berth from the Reds.
After the disappointment of the FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley last Sunday the Reds quickly got into a more positive Premier League mode against the Hammers.
Moyes employed defensive tactics early on but still Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood both posted warnings of intent in the opening three minutes. Both their efforts were saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
But it was Bruno Fernandes who was frustrated when it looked like Marcus Rashford had nailed a perfect through-ball to the Portuguese after 14 minutes. Fernandes had beaten the defence to meet the pass but mis-controlled and it bounced away from him and his decent chance went.
Martial had another go at breaking the deadlock but his powerful effort in the 18th-minute was always rising.
The early burst from the Reds unfortunately didn’t break the Hammers' resolve and the visitors gained confidence and started to play. A 31st-minute short corner led to a cross that Angelo Ogbonna couldn’t quite steer on target. But it was certainly a reminder to the Reds that we needed to pick the game up again.
Rashford did just that after 37 minutes as he crashed in a dipping, powerful shot that Fabianski punched away to safety.
Two minutes later Brandon Williams’ excellent work set up Greenwood but his blast was blocked by West Ham bodies in the area.
West Ham kept taking the sting out of the match and frustrating United with their slow, patient passing game but they burst into attacking life just before half-time when a Ben Johnson cross put Victor Lindelof under pressure as Antonio looked to pounce but De Gea was there to grasp the ball.
West Ham disappointingly got some reward for their bit of adventure when they got forward again and won a free-kick. It was taken short and Declan Rice’s shot was blocked by Paul Pogba’s hands. After a VAR review the spot-kick was given by referee Paul Tierney and Antonio put the ball away from the spot with De Gea beaten to send the visitors into a 1-0 interval lead.
Our best move of the match finally brought the equaliser in the 51st-minute. It was intricate, it was neat and it was deadly as Greenwood and Martial linked up brilliantly to steer themselves through a previously solid Hammers back wall. Greenwood finished the move off superbly to drill in his 17th goal of the campaign to mark his 50th senior appearance for the Reds in emphatic fashion.
It was just what was needed to fire the Reds up. Martial had a chance soon after when he was set up by sub Aaron Wan-Bissaka but the Frenchman’s shot was blocked.
Thereafter, apart from a Pogba shot over the bar, United couldn't build on our equaliser and it allowed West Ham to recover and it needed a top save from De Gea in the 62nd-minute, aided by a Williams partial block, to deny Jarrod Bowen from putting the Londoners back in front.
Declan Rice then decided to advance unchallenged and have a punt from range, but his effort went just over in the 68th-minute. Antonio then met a Mark Noble free-kick soon after but couldn't connect cleanly, but it was certainly another reminder to United that some late caution at one end and urgency at the other was required.
Solskjaer brought Odion Ighalo on for Rashford six minutes from time hoping for some late impact from the striker and the substitution almost paid immediate dividends with the Nigerian sweeping one just wide seconds after coming on. But there was to be no late drama as West Ham stayed intact and left with a point.
United: De Gea; Fosu-Mensah (Wan-Bissaka 46), Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford (Ighalo 84); Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Dalot, Fred, James, Lingard, Mata, McTominay,
Goal: Greenwood (51)
Booked: Fosu-Mensah, Rashford, Fernandes
West Ham: Fabianski; Cresswell (Masuaku 75), Diop, Ogbonna, Johnson; Fornals, Noble, Soucek, Rice, Bowen; Antonio (Haller 77).
Subs not used: Randolph, Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Lanzini, Wilshere, Coventry.
Goal: Antonio (45+2 pen)
Referee: Paul Tierney