- Pogba put United ahead
- Zlatan scores late winner
- McArthur had equalized for Palace
LONDON — Manchester United left it late but Jose Mourinho’s side made it two-straight wins in the Premier League thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
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United went ahead in the first half as Ibrahimovic set up Pogba in controversial fashion, but a superb team goal got a largely lackluster Palace back in it with James McArthur finishing.
The game-winning moment arrived two minutes from time as Pogba played in Ibrahimovic and he finisihed superbly. 2-1 to United, who now have 27 points. Palace remain in trouble at the wrong end of the table on 15 points.
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United had an injury scare early on with Eric Bailly going down clutching his knee but he carried on and United looked the more dangerous in attack. Wayne Rooney sent a header over and Ander Herrera smashed a shot over as the Red Devils settled quicker with Palace standing off them.
Bailly got in down the right but his cutback couldn’t find Rooney and despite getting caught with a late challenge by Chung-Young Lee the Ivorian defender provided a useful threat down the right as he again found Rooney but a heavy touch saw the ball find Ibrahimovic in the box but Wayne Hennessey smothered the effort.
Marcos Rojoj was then lucky to stay on the pitch for a two-footed lunge on Zaha which only saw him booked and then Zlatan had another shot deflected wide before half time. Hennessey then produced a great stop to deny Rooney the record-equaling goal. Pogba dinked over a lovely ball to Rooney and from eight yards out the United skipper tried to lift the ball into the top corner but Palace’s goalkeeper denied him. He remained on 248 goals. The game didn’t remain scoreless.
Right on half time a free kick from Mata found an unmarked Ibrahimovic and the Swedish striker chested it down in the box (although replays showed the ball looked to have struck his arm) to Pogba who slotted home. 1-0 to United with the last action of the first half a controversial one with Pogba also looking to be offside as he tapped home.
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Bailly finally came off injured with Matteo Darmian replacing him as the Ivorian defender never fully recovered from the early injury he suffered to his left knee.
Palace started to push for an equalizer and McArthur sent in an arrow which De Gea brilliantly tipped wide. McArthur didn’t have to wait long for a goal as a wonderful flick from Damien Delaney set up McArthur and he slotted home calmly. 1-1. Game on.
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United cranked through the gears in the final 20 minutes and were incensed when a corner from the left saw Ledley handle the ball clearly in the box but referee Craig Pawson waved play on. Moments later he waved off a United goal with Rojo’s header to the back post finding Mata and the Spaniard slotted home but the offside flag was up, incorrectly.
Mourinho was not a happy man.
In the end he was happy, though, as Pogba played in Zlatan beautifully and despite the Swede having plenty to do he dinked home in the 88th minute to make it 2-1 and seal all three points for United.
Mourinho and his players celebrated at the final whistle on the pitch. The Red Devils are gaining momentum as they head into the busy festive period.