Match report: United 1 Palace 0

by 24britishtvDec. 5, 2021, 9 p.m. 18
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United's first-half domination couldn't be turned into goals, and neither could it continue in quite the same fashion after the break. Palace livened up, enjoying a greater share of possession and more regular attacks; Kouyate headed over at a corner, Gallagher's shot went well over soon after.

Rangnick made his first substitution just after the hour mark, bringing off Sancho, who had been a livewire throughout, and replacing him with Mason Greenwood for the 19-year-old's first appearance in a month after recovering from COVID-19. His first chance came after Fernandes held the ball up on the edge of the box, but he dragged the left-footed shot wide of the right post.

Shortly before that had come United's closest attempt of the day, Alex Telles hitting the crossbar with an ambitious attempt from a tight-angled free-kick on the right edge of the box.

Palace had weathered the storm, and found confidence in that. Jordan Ayew should have given them a 74th-minute lead when he found himself unmarked at the right post, latching onto a header that had come back across goal from a corner. The Ghanaian shot with the inside of his right boot but his effort flashed straight across the face of goal rather than nestling into the far left bottom corner.

It proved a pivotal moment. Rangnick sent Anthony Elanga on for Rashford, adding renewed pace and energy to the United attack. The Swedish youngster chased a ball back to Guaita, forcing the Palace goalkeeper to rush out of his goal and claim it. Moments like those, spurts of energetic pressing, found great support from a crowd pleased with what they were seeing but needing a goal.

It eventually came, and from an unlikely source. Greenwood received the ball just inside the area and instantly looked for a shot but found space limited, the ball's route to goal blocked by Guehi and Gallagher. Showing good composure, he paused and looked back where Fred was running on. The ball back was an ideal one to hit first time, and Fred did just that, striking it with the inside of his right foot and sending it across goal to the top left corner.

In five minutes of added time, Palace threatened, De Gea needing to tip an Olise cross over the crossbar and Lindelof fouling Zaha as the forward broke clear on the left wing. But Rangnick's Reds made it through, still dangerous on the counter-attack, and have a vital three points that continues the climb back towards the top four.

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