MANCHESTER, England (Reuters)
Marcus Rashford won a first-half penalty before scoring himself in the second half as Manchester United survived a straight red card for Casemiro to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the English Premier League (EPL) at Old Trafford on Saturday (February 4).
The visitors found themselves behind early when a VAR check showed Will Hughes had handled a ball from Rashford in the box, and Bruno Fernandes sent Vincent Guaita the wrong way from the spot in the seventh minute.
Palace had their best chance just before the break when Jeffrey Schlupp struck a dipping, swerving shot from distance that David de Gea had to get down smartly to save, but other than that Palace struggled to threaten the United goal.
Rashford cut inside a curled a shot just over the bar 11 minutes into the second half, and shortly afterwards winger Antony sped into the box with the ball at his feet but he couldn’t find a teammate and Palace were able to clear.
The in-form Rashford was not to be denied and he made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute with a simple finish after a move that featured some superb short passing as United looked set to cruise to victory.
However, Palace were thrown a lifeline when Casemiro was shown a straight red card for grabbing Hughes by the throat as both sides clashed following a tackle on Antony, and Schlupp pulled a goal back in the 76th minute to give them hope.
The visitors poured forward looking for an equaliser but United coach Erik ten Hag stemmed the tide by sending on Harry Maguire, loan signing Marcel Sabitzer and Victor Lindelof, who replaced fellow substitute Alejandro Garnacho, as they held on to win.
Manchester United climbed to third in the standings on 42 points, eight behind leaders Arsenal and three behind second-placed Manchester City, while Palace are 12th on 24 points.
“The first 70 minutes was all ours, we dominated the game and we played really well, A big compliment for the team, a lot of energy and they played really well in possession and in the defence transition,” Ten Hag said in a TV interview.
“The last 20 minutes we showed we can battle, we can fight. It’s a big team spirit, they stand (up) for each other and we are happy with that,” he added.