Report: United 1 Leicester 1
Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford, as Fred's equaliser cancelled out Kelechi Iheanacho's opener just moments before.
Bruno Fernandes went close early on having been denied by the legs of Kasper Schmeichel, while the visitors also could have won it, if not for a VAR intervention following a foul in the build-up to James Maddison's second-half strike. Jadon Sancho spurned a late chance to steal the victory.
The result leaves the Reds' sixth in the table, with just eight games remaining until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
FIRST HALF - FERNANDES GOES CLOSE IN CAGEY AFFAIR
Harvey Barnes was presented with the game's first chance after a mere two minutes, as the Leicester winger headed over James Maddison’s in-swinging free-kick.
A slick attacking move involving all three of City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Iheanacho and Barnes resulted in the latter firing wide with 11 minutes gone, as the Foxes again came forward during the early stages.
Paul Pogba’s header was easily collected by Schmeichel soon after, with Sancho’s trickery beginning to present a potential avenue for United's attacks down the left flank. Fernandes was then presented with the Reds' best opening of the half, just before the 30-minute mark. Fresh off the back of his new contract extension, our Portuguese playmaker drove into the box following a superb interception from Fred, only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Schmeichel.
Iheanacho then fired just wide as Leicester again pressed for a goal in a game still very much hanging in the balance as half-time approached. Brendan Rodgers’ side continued their approach through some more neat build-up, Barnes again going close following Maddison locating his fellow countryman at the back post with a deep cross.
A super pass from Fernandes also presented an opportunity to unlock a shaky-looking Leicester backline, with Anthony Elanga and Sancho unable to link up crucially when it mattered most as the first-half action drew to a close.
SECOND HALF - SPOILS SHARED
As the second half rolled around, Fernandes’s tame effort marked the first chance of the second period, with Schmeichel once again called into action to thwart him. The game's opening goal followed just after the hour-mark, as Iheanacho headed home a pinpoint cross from Maddison, after Fernandes was stopped in his tracks while trying to latch onto a Fred ball.
Just seconds later, Fred drew United level as the Old Trafford faithful finally had something to celebrate. Fernandes’s initial shot was saved by Schmeichel once more, before our Brazilian midfielder was the quickest to react, as he swept home the game's leveller.
Sancho was almost ruthlessly punished with 20 minutes remaining, as his misplaced back-pass was quickly seized upon by goalscorer Iheanacho, who couldn’t direct his effort on target, scooping the ball over the crossbar.
David De Gea then wonderfully denied Wesley Fofana. Our no.1 clawed away the Frenchman’s headed effort to keep the encounter locked at 1-1.
The visitors then had the ball in the back of the net with 10 minutes remaining, as Maddison beat De Gea at his near post, only for VAR to later disallow the goal for a foul in the build-up by Iheanacho on Reds defender Raphael Varane.
Sancho then was handed a chance late on to steal the points, but swung at the ball inside the box and failed to connect properly as it screwed into the Stretford End. And in the dying seconds, Marcus Rashford seemed to have found an opening as he charged towards goal, only for Elanga to collide with him en-route resulting in Schmeichel gathering once more.
United rallied again with a late corner, but the points were shared as the game ended level.
United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Maguire (c), Shaw (Telles 45), Fred, McTominay (Rashford 55), Pogba (Matic 74), Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho.
Subs not used: Henderson, Lindelof, Jones, Wan-Bissaka, Mata, Lingard.
Goal: Fred 64.
Bookings: Shaw, McTominay.
Leicester: Schmeichel (c), Justin, Fofana, Evans (Amartey 63), Castagne, Tielemans, Mendy (Choudhury 90),Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes, Iheanacho (Daka 90).
Subs not used: Jakupovic, Soyuncu, Albrighton, Perez, Pereira, Lookman.
Goal: Iheanacho 63.
Bookings: Fofana, Tielemans.