Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea: Van Persie’s late, late equalizer thwarts Blues (video)

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MANCHESTER – Robin van Persie equalized deep into stoppage time as Manchester United rescued a dramatic late point against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday in a 1-1 draw.

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Chelsea took the lead through Didier Drogba’s powerful header just after half time, which looked to be sending Mourinho’s side six-points clear at the top of the Premier League standings. However, after Branislav Ivanovic conceded a free kick in the left corner, and was shown a second yellow card for his troubles, Angel Di Maria whipped in a great ball which RVP smashed home in stoppage time to send the home fans wild.

After this draw Chelsea still remain top of the table and are unbeaten in nine, while United are in eighth place on 13 points.

Early on United got the home crowd going as Di Maria launched a lightning-quick counter attack which resulted in Marouane Fellaini having his shot blocked in the six-yard box and then Di Maria volleying over from 12-yards out. Chelsea showed plenty of poise on the ball in the opening exchanges, with Cesc Fabregas, Oscar and Eden Hazard getting into their stride as Drogba caused United’s central defensive duo of Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling plenty of problems with his hold up play. Rafael and Drogba were booked, as the game started at a frantic pace.

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The first clear cut chance of the game arrived in the 22nd minute as Adnan Januzaj raced clear and slotted a perfect ball through to van Persie but the Dutchman’s shot was blocked by Thibaut Courtois and moments later Chelsea’s ‘keeper denied RVP’s header as United pushed for the opener. But then United start to cause problems for themselves as first Rojo, then Blind, gave the ball away in bad spots as Chelsea pressed high up the pitch. That led to Cesc Fabregas whipping in a great free kick to the back post which saw Smalling and Branislav Ivanovic colliding at the and the latter fell to the ground claiming a PK. Referee Phil Dowd wasn’t having any of it.

Just before the break both teams came close to the opener as first Drogba was denied by a great low stop from David De Gea, then Januzaj smashed a superb effort into the side-netting as the score was 0-0 at the break.

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In the second half United started brightly as RVP teed up Fellaini but the big Belgian hammered his effort wide of the post under pressure. Moments later De Gea made an incredible save from Hazard as the Chelsea player went clean through but United’s ‘keeper somehow blocked his shot. From that resulting corner Chelsea took the lead, with Drogba losing Rafael at the near post and powering a header home to make it 1-0 to Mourinhos’s men.

That goal unsettled United who gave the ball away carelessly on numerous occasions and Willian sent a drive towards goal which De Gea plucked out of the air. In the final half hour United went for it as van Gaal sent on young striker  James Wilson but it was Chelsea who continued to push for a second goal with Ivanovic slaloming past three players before drilling a shot wide, then Willian sent a shot just wide.

United improved late in the game with van Persie forcing Courtois into a save down low, then Januzaj dribbled an effort wide after cutting in from the right.

Late on Ivanovic was shown a second yellow card for a bad foul on Di Maria and from that free kick Fellaini’s header was saved by Courtois but van Persie was on hand to hammer home an equalizer to send Old Trafford wild. 1-1.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Rojo Shaw; Blind, Januzaj, Mata (Wilson, 67′), Di Maria, Fellaini; Van Persie.

Goal: Van Persie (90′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Filipe Luis; Fabregas, Matic; Willian (Zouma, 90′), Oscar (Mikel, 67′), Hazard (Schurrle, 90′); Drogba.

Goal: Drogba (53′)