Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Bournemouth on Saturday, despite having played over half of the game with an extra man after Andrew Surman’s red card at the end of the opening period.
Marcos Rojo gave United the advantage with his first Premier League goal midway through the first half, only for Joshua King to equalise shortly before the break. Zlatan Ibrahimović was presented with a chance to win the game from the penalty spot midway through the second, though man of the match Artur Boruc made an excellent save.
The tone for a chaotic match was set in the first few minutes, with a couple of good chances appearing at both ends of the field. A Wayne Rooney header looped over the Bournemouth crossbar, shortly before a deflected Bournemouth hoof almost crept beyond David de Gea.
A few minutes later, a square Rooney pass found Ibrahimović bearing down on goal, though a heavy touch ensured the chance went awry. Bournemouth promptly hoiked the ball to safety, and Cherries striker Benik Afobe beat Rojo, United’s last man, to the ball. Fortunately he slipped when clean through, and like Ibrahimović seconds earlier, wasn’t able to muster a shot.
Only after a couple of early scares did United began to tighten things up; Bournemouth, meanwhile, maintained their impressive commitment to turning in the worst defensive performance of any side at Old Trafford this season. It was only through luck and the reactions of goalkeeper Boruc that they avoided conceding for so long; so much so that when United’s goal did finally arrive, it couldn’t help but be slightly anticlimactic.
It came midway through the first half, with a corner working its way out to Antonio Valencia on the right flank. Rojo continued to hover into the Cherries penalty area, and the gamble paid off. He just had to stick out a foot to divert Valencia’s driven cross inside Boruc’s far post, giving United a lead that they more than merited.
Alas, United didn’t press home their advantage, and were made to pay the price with just over five minutes of the half remaining. A characteristically clumsy intervention by Phil Jones on Marc Pugh allowed former United man King to equalise from the penalty spot, which he did in impressive fashion.
But the first half’s entertainment wasn’t done there, and indeed the best was arguably yet to come. Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings stamped on the head of Ibrahimović, who promptly responded with an elbow to the Cherries defender. Both should arguably have been sent off; both somehow avoided serious punishment. Andrew Surman wasn’t quite so lucky: he collected a second yellow card for shoving Ibra to the ground, and United headed into the interval a man up.
Unsurprisingly, United continued to dominate early in the second half, and once again Bournemouth were relying on their goalkeeper to stay in the game. But stay in the game they did, and the longer the game went on, the more frustrated the home crowd grew. With 20 minutes left, Mourinho took decisive action with a triple substitution: Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford were thrown on in place of Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney, in one great roll of the dice.
Within seconds United were presented with a great chance to retake the lead, when Bournemouth full-back Adam Smith was harshly penalised for handling in the area. But it wasn't Ibrahimović's day, and his low penalty was excellently saved by Boruc. Unfortunately for United, it proved to be the last real chance of the game, with the Cherries clinging on for a point.