Sheffield United 3 Manchester United 3
Manchester United were forced to settle for a 3-3 draw in a dramatic game against Sheffield United, after almost snatching a win from the jaws of defeat.
Sadly it wasn’t meant to be, as Oliver McBurnie’s 90th-minute equaliser rescued a point for Sheffield United with VAR ruling that he did not use his arm to control the ball before firing past David De Gea.
In an electric atmosphere at Bramall Lane, it took 11 minutes for the first goalscoring opportunities to present themselves, and it was the hosts who fashioned them in quick succession.
John Lundstram created the initial opening when he volleyed Fleck’s cross and forced De Gea into a full-length sprawl to his right, to deny Sheffield United’s no.7. The Blades reacted quickest to the save and the ball was immediately swung back into the box, where David McGoldrick headed it towards goal and again De Gea had to make a superb stop.
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Check out these scenes from a full-blooded contest against the Blades...
The midfielder’s shot was saved brilliantly by De Gea, but he could do nothing when the ball rebounded to Fleck in the centre and nestled in the back of the net after striking the Scotsman’s leg.
The hosts continued in the ascendancy after the goal and came close again, firstly with a whipped Fleck free-kick that sailed wide of the far post, and then via a McGoldrick effort from distance, which was well held by De Gea.
Ole’s men did create an opening soon after, when good play down the left flank presented Anthony Martial with a chance from an acute angle. Despite the awkward shooting position, the Frenchman did get his effort on target, but Blades keeper Simon Moore grasped it comfortably.
It proved to be one of the Reds’ few goalscoring opportunities of the half and, as a result, Ole made a tactical alteration at the break, replacing Jesse Lingard for Phil Jones and switching to a 4-2-3-1 shape.
Yet, despite the Reds’ positive start to the half, Sheffield United still posed a real threat and, in the 51st minute, Chris Wilder’s men doubled their advantage through a lethal counter attack.
Fleck was again at the heart of the move and he slipped the ball to Mousset around 25 yards from goal. The Blades’ frontman then unleashed a superbly placed curling effort, which bent past De Gea and into the back of the net, to the delight of the majority inside Bramall Lane.
After struggling in the first hour, most visiting sides would have rolled over and accepted defeat, but the Reds’ determination and belief got us back into the contest.
It was phenomenal play from Daniel James on the right wing and his dinked cross from the edge of the box ultimately found its way to Williams on the opposite side of the box.
The youngster, making just his second Premier League start, met the ball first time on the half-volley and it whistled past Moore into the bottom corner. However long Williams’s career is, he won’t score many better than that.
The Reds were buoyed by the goal and a tactical reshuffle from the boss - which saw the introduction of Mason Greenwood - breathed further new life into the side.
Ole’s men had struggled in the early parts of the game, but were now finding space all over the pitch, and just minutes after getting the equaliser, we were ahead.
Again it was James who turned provider via a brilliant dribble and one-two, and he then picked out Rashford in the centre of the box. The striker is currently one of the most in-form attackers in the Premier League and the England international was never going to miss this one. He confidently stroked it past Moore and gave the Reds a lead which seemed impossible just 10 minutes before.
Our dominance continued into the latter periods, and Lingard came close to adding a fourth goal with a long-distance shot.
But this unpredictable game had one final twist in store, when McBurnie netted in the last minute of normal time.
Enda Stevens put a wicked cross into the box that the visitors could not clear and, after a goalmouth scramble, it fell to the Scotland international who smashed the ball home from close range.
Sheffield United: Moore; Basham (Robinson 83), Jagielka, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McGoldrick (Sharp 78), Mousset (McBurnie 68).
Subs not used: Verrips, Osborn, Besic, Freeman.
Goals: Fleck (19), Mousset (51), McBurnie (90).
Bookings: Lundstram (51).
Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Jones (Lingard 46), Maguire (c); Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Andreas (Greenwood 73) , Williams; James, Martial (Tuanzebe 85), Rashford.
Subs not used: Grant, Young, Garner, Mata.
Goals: Williams (72), Greenwood (77), Rashford (79).
Bookings: Williams (50), Wan-Bissaka (60).