Man Utd’s Win at Aston Villa Keep Man City Waiting for Title - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Man Utd’s Win at Aston Villa Keep Man City Waiting for Title

 Manchester United virtually guaranteed a Premier League top-four finish and ensured rivals Manchester City must wait to be crowned champions as they came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park.


Having sealed their place in the Europa League final despite a 3-2 second-leg defeat by Romaon Thursday, second-half goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and substitute Edinson Cavani ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side require a single point from their remaining four games to secure a Champions League place.


A win for Villa would have sealed the title for leaders City – beaten 2-1 by Chelseaon Saturday – and Bertrand Traore’s emphatic finish into the top corner midway through the first half threatened to do just that.


Emiliano Martinez was equal to attempts from Greenwood and Marcus Rashford as United struggled to respond initially, while Dean Henderson kept out Ollie Watkins’ strike to deny Villa a second before half-time.


United levelled shortly after the restart when Fernandes calmly slotted in a penalty after Douglas Luiz needlessly fouled Paul Pogba, and Greenwood completed a four-minute turnaround when his low strike found the bottom corner.


A VAR check for handball against Greenwood was dismissed after Luiz headed the ball onto the arm of the United forward and the visitors successfully resisted late Villa pressure despite the loss of captain Harry Maguire to injury, before Cok avani confirmed victory in the closing stages.


In a frantic finale, Villa forward Watkins also received a red card for a second booking for simulation when under pressure from goalkeeper Henderson.


United are 10 points behind champions-elect City but will have the chance to move within four points as they face Leicester and Liverpool before the leaders next play.


With an exhausting short-term schedule to navigate, Solskjaer made four changes from United’s midweek trip to Rome for his side’s second fixture in a run of four in eight days – a situation created after last weekend’s league meeting with Liverpool was postponed due to fan protests.


Henderson, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof started at Villa Park, and while Lindelof should have offered greater resistance for Traore’s opener, there was little Henderson could do to keep out his fine strike.


It was the 10th time this season United had conceded the opening goal in an away Premier League game – indeed Solskjaer’s side have gone 1-0 down on more occasions (14) than they have gone ahead (13) in the competition this season – but impressively they remain unbeaten when doing so away from home after this latest fightback.

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