Manchester United 1-1 West Ham: Chances wasted as Sakho, Ibrahimovic cancel


Both sides had opportunities, but Manchester United will be most disappointed not to have won it after seeing numerous chances spurned. Diafra Sakho struck for West Ham right out of the gates, and while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was there to equalize later in the first half, United probably should have had more.

The Hammers struck almost immediately, just two minutes in as a beautiful ball in from Dimitri Payet on a free-kick met the head of Diafra Sakho, who had beaten Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the ball rippled the back of the net.

With such an early lead, West Ham bunkered in looking to protect the lead, but with the home side pumping dangerous long balls into the box, they only made it to the 21st minute. Paul Pogba chipped in a beautiful ball from midfield to Ibrahimovic waiting in the box, and he redirected the curler into the back of the net with a precise nod.

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There was a controversial moment in the 27th minute, as Paul Pogba was booked for simulation by referee Jonathan Moss. While on the ball in the box, Mark Noble came in with a wildly swinging leg, and as Pogba lept to avoid the strike, he went to ground under no contact and was given a yellow card. Jose Mourinho, in his wild frustration with the call, put his boot cleanly through a water bottle and was sent to the stands.

The Red Devils should have taken the lead in the 36th minute, as Marcus Rashford was clear after beating Cheikhou Kouyate to a ball down the pitch, but he was closed down by Darren Randolph and eventually the shot was saved. Randolph also expertly kept out Jesse Lingard by saving to his left from a tight angle.

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In the second half, West Ham looked to go back in front with yet another Payet free-kick from the same spot, this time with the Frenchman audaciously going for goal, forcing David De Gea to tip it over while doing a pull-up on the crossbar. On the ensuing corner, Manuel Lanzini headed it into a dangerous spot just in front of net but it was cleared out before another Hammer could finish it off.

Manchester United poured forward towards the end, and they had opportunities. Substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan nearly had the winner in 76th minute, but as the Armenian struck his shot, Randolph pushed it off the post and Jesse Lingard tapped it in but the offside flag ruled it out, with the youngster on the wrong side on Mkhitaryan’s shot. Ibrahimovic then had a chance, but as he looked to collect the bouncer with Randolph charging, he got by the goalkeeper but with a heavy touch, and Kouyate recovered to clear.

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West Ham had a chance too, as Ashley Fletcher danced through the penalty area, but he took too long and his eventual shot was blocked off by De Gea. The game came to a close with the scoreline level, a disappointing result for both sides who needed three points for their various races. The Red Devils only get to 20 points, only above Everton thanks to a loss today for the Toffees, while they sit 11 points back of the leaders. West Ham, meanwhile, miss the chance to truly pull themselves off the relegation battle, instead just a point above Crystal Palace and Hull City at the drop.