Football in the weekends has to have that dramatic touch, otherwise, you don’t feel that it’s Matchday – there has to be something in there and if anyone wishes to repeat Sir Alex Ferguson’s immortal lines, “Football, bloody hell!” then he or she must have watched the dramatic clash between Manchester United and West Ham United at London Stadium.

The Hammers took the lead. Cristiano Ronaldo equalized. The villain at Switzerland, Jesse Lingard made it 2-1. At the fag end of the match, the Hammers were awarded a penalty. David de Gea saved it and ensured full points.

Take a breath and read again.

A 17th-minute error from Harry Maguire opened things up – pursued by Jarrod Bowen and Benrahma near the right corner flag, he dithered and gave up possession to the latter. Benrahma could wriggle towards the byline and cut back for Bowen, whose miscued effort struck Raphael Varane and bounced away.

Not long afterwards Bowen again failed to make a clean contact after unconvincing defending from Varane and McTominay. De Gea repelled his shot with a foot; West Ham kept coming and Benrahma’s growing influence was signalled with one sumptuous turn in midfield.

At that point, the visitors’ threat had been limited to a series of well-defended crosses. When a right-sided corner was not as readily handled, they almost scored. Bruno Fernandes’s half-volley from beyond the far post was sweet and true; Lukasz Fabianski’s save, just about diverting it on to an upright, was even better.

The industrious Bowen ran inside Vladimir Coufal and collected the right-back’s back-heel in his stride. Bowen quickly found Benrahma, who had space to shoot 25 yards out, to his left.

Although Benrahma aimed for the far corner, his attempt nestled in the opposite side of the net after taking a wicked deflection off Varane’s elbow.

De Gea was beaten.

But, guess what, Manchester United have the best player in the world – Cristiano Ronaldo!

He was immediately denied by a last-ditch challenge from Zouma but an equaliser arrived quickly. Fernandes’s deep delivery from the left was on point and, running beyond Aaron Cresswell, Ronaldo stabbed towards goal.

Fabianski was in the way but the ball ran free and the rebound was gobbled up, surviving a VAR check for offside.

Scuffy ones till now, but the gat man CR7 has bagged 4 goals in three matches for Manchester United.

Within seconds of the restart, though, the home side owed that to Fabianski.

A Pablo Fornals error led Fernandes to play Ronaldo through and, with a goal appearing certain, Fabianski did superbly to deflect his effort behind. One evergreen 36-year-old had been denied by another.

Manchester United’s dominance did not yield a flow of chances: while Fernandes and Pogba were constantly involved – but did not produce the desired amount of passing ranges.

Moyes introduced Andriy Yarmolenko in an effort to change that; Solskjær went further in deploying Jadon Sancho and Lingard, who was well received at his temporary home of last season.

Lingard, jinked inside after taking a pass from Nemanja Matic, cut inside Zouma and speared an exhilarating finish plum into Fabianski’s top left corner – United went 2-1 ahead.

But the drama was not over yet!

When West Ham were awarded a lifeline in added time after a handball from Luke Shaw, the Premier League’s fourth most successful spot-kick taker was summoned from the bench to perform one task only.

Noble jogged on, and ran up; David de Gea parried the penalty to his left and Manchester United could celebrate the most dramatic of away wins.


Yes, football, bloody hell!


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