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Lukaku back amongst the goals as United scrape past Bournemouth

Pin Lukaku's goal was enough for United to secure all three points against Bournemouth. AFP
Lukaku's goal was enough for United to secure all three points against Bournemouth. AFP

Lukaku back amongst the goals as United scrape past Bournemouth

Jack Ottman by Jack Ottman @jackottman - 0 2,097

Bournemouth were on top for large parts of the game but Manchester United returned to winning ways with a tight 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

Romelu Lukaku ended his four-game goal drought to put United ahead in the first half and they held on against a dangerous Bournemouth side to secure all three points.

Jose Mourinho’s side were looking to put the derby day disappointment behind them and both sides made four changes from their games at the weekend, with Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw both making their first league start of the season for the home side.

It was the visitors who started the brighter, and the speed of Callum Wilson and Josh King looked to threaten the United defence.

David De Gea was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening stages and the Spaniard had to get down smartly to save from Charlie Daniels effort from outside the area after he was allowed to travel a long way with the ball.

The United keeper was on hand again minutes later to palm away Dan Gosling’s shot from a tight angle, after Ryan Fraser’s cross dropped for him at the back post.

Despite the away side enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, it was Jose Mourinho’s men who took the lead on the 25 minute mark.

Juan Mata sent a delicately dinked cross in from the right and Lukaku rose above Nathan Ake inside the area and powered his header past Asmir Begovic and into the top corner to make it 1-0.

The Belgian striker will have been relieved to end his four-game run without a goal but bizarrely chose not to celebrate putting his side into the lead.

Despite going behind, Bournemouth continued to look like the better side and Junior Stanislas powered forward before releasing the shot and De Gea was only able to palm his effort back into the danger area. Adam Smith tried to slide in for the rebound but the ball was just ahead of him and it went into the side netting.

Just before the break, Eddie Howe’s side went close once again when Ryan Fraser miscued almost caught De Gea out at his near post, but he reacted well to punch the ball away and deny Bournemouth their equaliser.

After the break, the game was rather scrappy with both sides struggling to make a mark on the game. United were enjoying more possession than the first period but Bournemouth’s defence was largely untroubled.

On the hour mark it looked for all the world like United would double their lead but Anthony Martial fluffed his lines. Lukaku’s shot from a tight angle was blocked by Begovic but it fell for Martial, who somehow directed the ball over the bar from five yards out in the centre of the goal.

Marcus Rashford almost scored United’s second in the 72nd minute after replacing Martial minutes earlier. The England forward received the ball from Scott McTominay on the left, before cutting inside and smashing the ball goalwards from around 30 yards out. His effort dipped and swerved before crashing against the crossbar, as Begovic stood rooted to the spot.

Jermain Defoe came off the bench for the visitors and tested De Gea almost instantly but his effort from the edge of the area was straight down the keeper’s throat.

In the latter stages, the home side were clinging on as Bournemouth continued to push for the equaliser. Defoe was denied once again when his close-range effort was blocked by De Gea at the near post after a neat move from the Howe’s side.

Simon Francis sent a dangerous ball in from the right just before the 90-minute mark but Josh King and Benik Afobe got in each other's way and couldn’t direct the ball goalwards, which allowed De Gea to claim the ball.

Bournemouth were granted one last chance in stoppage time was Nemanja Matic handled the ball 25 yards out, but Ryan Fraser’s sweetly-struck shot from the free-kick was straight at David De Gea.

It was a rather disappointing performance from United, but Jose Mourinho will be pleased with the three points after the defeat to Manchester City, and he will hope Romelu Lukaku’s confidence will be boosted by scoring the match winner.

Eddie Howe’s men are now without a win in five Premier League games, although their performance tonight will have encouraged the Cherries boss and he will look to build on that in the next few games.

Jack Ottman

Jack Ottman

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