Premier League: West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United
West Ham: Cheikhou Kouyate (49)
ManUtd: Daley Blind (90+2)
Daley Blind scored a 92nd-minute goal for Manchester United on Sunday to secure a dramatic 1-1 draw against West Ham - although Louis van Gaal might rue a missed chance to reclaim third place in the Barclays Premier League table.
The Reds started the match knowing a victory would be enough to go above Southampton in the table again but trailed for most of the second half following Cheikhou Kouyate’s impressive opener at Upton Park. With time running out, after struggling against Sam Allardyce’s hard-working team, the visitors snatched a point from the jaws of defeat with Blind's timely strike. Luke Shaw's subsequent red card for a second bookable offence was only a slight blemish on a battling performance.
Van Gaal named the same team that started last weekend’s impressive 3-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford and the boss said ahead of kick-off: “I believe the confidence is coming back, and we have to prove it today.” Despite the manager's optimism, the Hammers made the brighter start and Enner Valencia created the first meaningful chance with a superb 20-yard effort that was brilliantly saved by David De Gea, who then tipped over another close-range effort from the Ecuadorian following the resulting corner kick.
West Ham’s pressing was particularly effective in the early exchanges and United struggled to retain possession, although van Gaal’s men improved after 25 minutes and started to show more creativity in the final third. The hosts were still on top, though, and went close to scoring just after the half-hour mark when James Tomkins’ downward header at the back-post was booted clear by De Gea.
United’s first shot of the half was produced in the 40th minute from the left boot of Angel Di Maria, who unleashed a powerful 25-yard shot that was claimed by goalkeeper Adrian. Adnan Januzaj then had a speculative strike deflected wide for a corner as the Reds rallied before the half-time break.
Although van Gaal's men made an improved start to the second half, with Januzaj shooting at goal from the edge of the area, West Ham took the lead when a long ball into the box fell kindly to Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, who did brilliantly to take three touches and hit a deflected volley past De Gea from around 10 yards. The Reds responded well and Radamel Falcao hit a 20-yard shot wide of goal before Robin van Persie latched onto Di Maria’s floated pass to chest and volley at Adrian. The Dutchman playing his 100th game for United might have done better with another excellent opportunity in the 56th minute, when taking a touch that allowed Tomkins to block his shot inside the area.
Januzaj, on his 50th appearance, was then guilty of fluffing his lines when volleying high and wide of the target. It proved to be his last contribution to the game as he was replaced by Belgian compatriot Marouane Fellaini in the 72nd minute. Di Maria curled a 25-yard free-kick over the bar before his South American team-mate Falcao somehow shot wide after playing a fine one-two with van Persie. Fellaini also headed off target when he might have tested Adrian before van Persie forced another good stop from the goalkeeper in the 82nd minute.
De Gea made an excellent double-save to deny Mark Noble and then Kevin Nolan as the clock ticked on, though United continued to push forward and finally found a breakthrough when Marcos Rojo’s cross was headed to the edge of the area, where Daley Blind was on hand to drill home a dramatic equaliser. Sadly there wasn't time for United's fighting spirit to find a winner - only enough seconds for Shaw to be sent off for a second bookable offence to round off a pulsating afternoon at Upton Park.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Kouyate, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Nolan, Downing, Sakho, Valencia (Jarvis 83).
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Oxford, Amalfitano, Cole, Lee.
Booked: Song, Adrian
United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Rooney, Januzaj (Fellaini 72), Di Maria, Falcao (Smalling 95), van Persie.
Subs not used: Valdes, Mata, Herrera, McNair, Wilson.
Booked: Rojo, Shaw (sent off), Rooney