- Townsend’s deflected shot opens scoring
- Quick restart fools United for 2-0
- Smalling heads in Valencia cross
- Lukaku levels late
- Matic wins it in stoppage
Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling scored as Manchester United made amends for a woeful start with a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.
The win puts United back ahead of Liverpool and into second place in the Premier League. The Red Devils are a full nine points clear of fifth place Chelsea.
Andros Townsend and Patrick Van Aanholt opened up a 2- 0 lead for Palace, who remains in the drop zone with 27 points.
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Nemanja Matic was particularly active in the first five minutes, and showed he’d be a key factor in helping to shut down Palace’s twin towers of Alexander Sorloth and Christian Benteke.
James Tomkins tried an overhead kick off a scrum for Palace’s first real chance, while Wayne Hennessey leapt high to defy an Alexis Sanchez header at the other end.
Palace went ahead in the 11th minute, as Benteke was given time and space by Chris Smalling to find Townsend. The English winger’s shot deflected wildly off Victor Lindelof‘s head and beat De Gea. 1-0.
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Van Aanholt’s seen his share of relegation scraps, and zipped onto a quick restart to dribble beyond a protesting Smalling and belt a shot past De Gea. 2-0, 48′.
Smalling got one back when Tomkins and the rest of Palace left him alone at the back post to nod Antonio Valencia‘s cross past Hennessey.
United was all over Palace for the remainder of the match, and Matic thought he deserved a penalty for an incident around the time of his hitting the post.
Palace conceded the equalizer in a painful way, as Alexis Sanchez’s deflected shot fell off the cross bar to Lukaku, who waited for Van Aanholt’s block attempt before pounding it home with his left peg.
Benteke and Sorloth each came for the lead in the 77th minute, with De Gea making an outstanding save on the former.
Matic’s winner, early in stoppage, was reminiscent of his goal for Chelsea against Spurs last season, as he belted a rebound from well outside the 18.