The late introduction of Marcus Rashford and a moment of individual heroics were enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to steal a 2-2 draw against an unlucky Chelsea side that had the better of the match.
Playing in front of 71,000 fans at Old Trafford, it was Chelsea who dominated possession in the first half and showed the most enterprise in attack.
The Blues first goal came after just 16 minutes when Diego Costa received a well-weighted ball forward from Matic. The Spanish striker ran at the defense and then played a clever pass into the box for Hazard to pounce on. De Gea, in the Manchester United goal, came out for the ball but was played around by Hazard who smashed the ball into the back of the net, past a hapless Chris Smalling who had dropped back to cover his keeper.
Manchester United goalkeeper, David de Gea beaten by Diego Costa.
Fifteen minutes later, Chelsea were on goal again after a perfect long-ball pass from Cahill put Diego Costa on the breakaway. The striker turned on the ball and drove for goal but with only De Gea to beat, he flailed his shot harmlessly wide and high.
The perfect long ball from Cahill (top) leads to a breakaway by Diego Costa.
Two minutes before half-time, Chelsea were unlucky not to add to their score after United conceded a free kick on the edge of the penalty box. Eden Hazard put his shot just over the bar, much to the relief of the Manchester United home crowd.
Throughout the first half, Chelsea repeatedly caught Manchester United out defensively with long switches of play, but Mourinho’s calls for composure from his players almost backfired in the 57th minute when a lazy pass was seized upon by Hazard. It was fortunate for United that the resulting shot by the Chelsea striker went wide of the goal.
Against the run of play, it was Ibrahimovic who dragged United back into contention. In the 65th minute, Pogba won the ball in space and Ibrahimovic drifted wide, drawing a defender and creating a dangerous gap in the Chelsea defense. Pogba played to Rooney who had pushed forward. The England captain unselfishly slipped a pass to Ibrahimovic who loomed up on the blind side of his marker and fired a close-range shot to score.
Ibrahimovic finishes from close range to pull Manchester United level.
The match could have settled there. Manchester United seemed content with a salvaged point, but Chelsea had more attack, and ten minutes after equalizing, United were staring at defeat once more as Hazard and Diego Costa combined for Chelsea in a scintillating 1-touch passage of passing that shredded United’s defense. Hazard dribbled to the byline and cut the ball back. Diego Costa made no mistake from the corner of the 6-yard box.
Hazard gets to the byline and cuts a pass back for Diego Costa who made no mistake with his close-range shot.
It was 1-2, and Chelsea seemed to be comfortable handling United’s attacking raids.
Then Mourinho introduced Marcus Rashford, and the game was set for one final, tantalizing turn.
Within minutes of coming on, a pass from Lingard found Ibrahimovic who had drifted wide on the left to find space. The big, aggressive striker crossed the ball to the feet of Rashford, despite having two markers. With just minutes left in the game, Rashford turned, beat a tackle, dribbled around the second defender, and then drove home the equalizer past the desperate diving attempt of Chelsea’s keeper.
Manchester United hero, Marcus Rashford, holds off the Chelsea defense long enough to snap a shot at goal and draw the scores level.
After the match, Chelsea coach Antonio Conte was justifiably disappointed with the result, believing his team had done enough to earn all three points. Jose Mourinho had no comments for the media in the post-match press conference.