When Manchester United played away to Crystal Palace on March 5, 2018, they were seeking to end their away match losing streak as well as ensure that they do not get a defeat against Crystal Palace and also to regain the second spot position in the EPL table, which they did with a comeback of the weekend.
The match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace cannot be a boring one as it resulted in five goals and some very good football all around. The match was not one side as both teams scored and had their own share of chances on goal.
Early first half goal
It was Crystal palace who was first to score in the 11th minute by a strike from Townsend. The game continued with this score for the rest of the half despite Manchester United’s dominance in terms of ball possession.
Crystal Palace players were looking as if they would be the likely winners, scoring first in the 11th minute with a goal from A. Townsend to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead. This goal came when Crystal Palace forward made a neat pass to the number 10 A. Townsend, who saw his shot on goal deflected by Lindelof (a Man United defender) into the back of David Degea’s net. So, the match continued with this score line until the end of the first half.
However, Manchester United players did not get much chance in the first half as they only made two attempts on goal.
When the first half ended, the Crystal Palace fans were delighted as they thought that their players could pull off an upset and defeat the most popular football club in the world and the team which had beaten Chelsea last week Sunday 2-1. Also, Crystal Palace wanted the win very much to take them out of the relegation zone.
Four Goals in the Second Half and an early 2nd half goal
It seemed as if Crystal Palace had won the match when the second half began because after just three minutes into the half (in the 48th minute), Crystal Palace scored a quick goal in a move that could be considered a counter attack. This goal was scored by Palace’s #3, P. van Aaholt, who received the ball from Palace’s #15 J. Schlupp, when he took a very quick free kick after a foul was committed by Nemanja Matic. P. van Aaholt was unchallenged and so was able to put the ball past David Degea on the near post.
That second goal had put more hopes into the hearts of the Crystal Palace home fans that they would win, as they began cheering even louder than before as they sang and clapped.
Chris Smalling, a Man United defender would have none of it as he ensured his team would get back into the game when he scored Man United’s first goal of the match with a brilliant header in the 55th minute. Smalling had a free header when Valencia, #25 chipped the ball over the heads of about 5 Crystal Palace players, and he headed the ball down on the ground so it could bounce into the goal at the far post.
Afterwards, the Red Devils started to apply more pressure on the Crystal Palace defense, making very good passes and runs as they tried to make their way into the 18-yard box and make shots at goal. The effort paid off twenty-one (21) minutes later when Romelu Lukaku capitalized on an opportunity in the six-yard box to make a low shot into the back of the net at the inside post.
This goal brought the score level to 2-2 with 14 minutes remaining in normal match time.
Lukaku’s goal came after Alexis Sanchez saw his attempt on goal blocked by a Crystal Palace defender causing the ball to deflect into the air and hit the crossbar, and then rebounded to Lukaku who controlled the ball and positioned himself to shoot it past the defenders and the goal keeper, on the near post. The keeper made a diving effort to his left to stop the ball with his feet and hands, but it was too late.
Manchester United players looked as if they had fallen asleep or gotten complacent when the Crystal Palace players started to attack the Manchester United goal and got a very good attempt on goal through a very good header from Benteke. But the goal was saved by the world’s number one goal keeper, David De Gea. The effort made by Benteke was a very, very good one as he headed the ball down on the ground to make it difficult for de Gea to save and result in a goal.
David de Gea was, however, very alert and showed why he is the best goal keeper in the world now, by making a brilliant dive to the right to stop the ball from crossing the goal line.
The header made by Benteke looked like a goal when watching on TV from the angle where the NBC SN was broadcasting, but instead it was a very big save. This save by de Gea prevented Crystal Palace from regaining the lead and possibly the winner, but even after that save the Crystal Palace players kept on pressing, hoping for a third goal.
It was Manchester United who turned up the heat after that as their players took control of the game even more and had very good ball possession. Paul Pogba played well, helping in the defense and the midfield. The addition of Juan Mata for Valencia, and Luke Shaw for A. Young who was on a yellow card was a good decision by Jose Mourinho and helped Man United add more control to the game as the two pairs of fresh legs had come on.
Jose had also brought on Rashford for McTominay in the 46th minute, which paid off very well as he looked brilliant on the ball as he made his attacking runs, dribbles and passes to his teammates.
Man United built more pressure and increased ball possession
As the end of the second half approached, Manchester United players saw their chances increase as they had seven corners, with three of them consecutive corners. Their quest for the winner resulted in the match ending with Man United having 70% ball possession, 17 shots with 8 on target, compared to Palace’s 10 shots with 4 on target and 3 corners.
Nemanja Matic scores winning goal for Man United
Manchester United’s third goal, and the fifth goal of the match came when Nemanja Matic allowed the ball to bounce in front of him and then he made a volley to put a swerving ball into the back of Crystal Palace’s net. That goal sent the United supporters into a frenzy and the Crystal Palace supporters dismayed as the goal came in the 91st minute and there were only 3 minutes of stoppage time that were added on.
The win came when #31 Matic made a pass to Sanchez who made a brilliant chip into the 18-yard box to find Mata, who passed the ball back to Pogba, who made a very good shot at goal. Pogba’s shot was blocked, but the ball rebounded to Matic who controlled the ball in the air, allowed it to bounce and then he made a left-footed shot, causing the ball to swerve and dip into the back of the net.
The goal scored despite a good diving effort from the Crystal Palace goal keeper to his right. This was Matic’s first goal for Manchester United and what a way to score it as he scored the winning goal of the match.
Man United wins and regains second spot in EPL
Nemanja Matic scored the 91st minute goal to give united win over Crystal Palace. The victory makes Manchester United unbeaten in 18 premier league matches vs Crystal Palace, with 15 wins and three draws. The victory, which gave United 3 points put them past Liverpool who had taken the second spot temporarily, to lead them by 2 points. This victory also makes United having 9 victories in the last 12 matches in all competitions with 1 draw and 2 losses. It was delight for Man United as the players left Selhurst Park with all three points.
Manchester United are now on 62 points after 29 matches. Crystal Palace are now back at 18th position.
Thank you for reading my post. Please feel free to leave a comment or question and I will respond to you as soon as possible.