Premier League
Man Utd2Middlesbrough1

Manchester United 2-1 Middlesbrough

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba scored his sixth goal of the season for Manchester United

Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored late goals as Manchester United came from behind to beat Middlesbrough in the Premier League.

Midfielder Grant Leadbitter had given Boro a shock lead, drilling home a low finish from Alvaro Negredo's knock down.

Up until then, United had dominated a match in which Pogba struck the post with an overhead kick and Martial hit the same upright with a long-range strike.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also had a goal harshly ruled out for a high boot on ex-United goalkeeper Victor Valdes, while the Spaniard twice blocked the United striker's shots from close range in the second half.

Relive Manchester United's late win from Old Trafford

Fergie watches grandstand finish

With time running out for the Red Devils, Frenchman Martial poked in on 85 minutes and fellow countryman Pogba headed into the top corner from Juan Mata's cross a minute later.

It was the sort of grandstand finish that became a trademark under the reign of the club's legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched on from the stands on his 75th birthday.

"I am happy we gave him happiness today," United manager Jose Mourinho told BBC Sport. "And I am happy people remember his times and how we played under him."

Mourinho's men show their mettle

Man Utd v Boro heat map
The left graphic shows how United had much of the play in the final third of the pitch, while the graphic on the right shows how far deep Middlesbrough were camped in their own half

Having been frustrated following wave after wave of attacks, it looked like United were going to be left without a point when they fell behind at home to Boro.

Mourinho's men had forced Valdes into 10 saves - which highlighted their dominance - and it looked like being a clean sheet for the keeper on his return to Old Trafford.

But United's 65% possession was worthwhile in the end as Martial and Pogba scored within one minute and 26 seconds of each other to spark jubilant scenes from both the home players and supporters at the final whistle.

The world's most expensive player Pogba danced in the middle of the pitch, while boss Mourinho hugged counterpart Aitor Karanka in consolation.

The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 10 league games - winning all five in December - and are just one point adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal.

Ibrahimovic cruelly misses out on record

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Was it a high boot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic or was the goal incorrectly ruled out?

Former Paris St-Germain striker Ibrahimovic has had an excellent start to his United career, scoring 12 goals in his first 18 league games.

But failure to find the net against Boro meant he ended the calendar year on 50 goals, one fewer than Europe's leading marksman Lionel Messi.

He should have been level with the Barcelona man's haul but had an opportunistic first-half effort ruled out by referee Lee Mason. Although his boot was high, it was not in close proximity to the Middlesbrough keeper.

BBC Sport pundit Trevor Sinclair described it as "poor" from the official on Final Score, while Hull defender Alex Bruce said it was "a baffling and ridiculous decision" on the same show.

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Usain Bolt calls Manchester United phone-in show

Boro let slip a lead…again

Karanka seemed to have set his team up perfectly and they were on the verge of a smash-and-grab victory before the points were snatched away from them in the last five minutes.

Skipper Leadbitter's goal was their first on target, but their inability to hold on to a lead has been their biggest problem this season.

Boro have now lost 12 points from winning positions this season and would only be a place behind their opponents in the table if they had held on on those occasions.

They have also lost four of their last five games and are just four points above the relegation zone.

Further concern will be the lack of goals on their return to the top flight, with their 17 strikes the worst of any team in the division.

With two minutes to go, Adam Forshaw hit a speculative effort from outside the area as they looked to claim a point, but it did not trouble goalkeeper David de Gea.

Man of the match - Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Paul Pogba
Brought to the club to produce big moments, Pogba delivered for Manchester United. His 71 passes in the opposition half was more than any other player

I am sad - Mourinho

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I'm sad because my 'brother' is sad - Mourinho

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho told BBC Sport: "It's a very good feeling, as I was expecting I don't feel the same happiness because my brother is on the other side.

"Aitor Karanka did his job amazing away but my 'brother' is sad so I'm sad.

"My players were phenomenal. We managed to do something I love - bring the fans to the pitch. The last 15 minutes were 70,000 on the pitch against 11."

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka told BBC Sport: "When you lose it is difficult. We have to take the good things.

"When you come here and play against Manchester United and you are winning 1-0, every team has to play at their best to beat us.

"I thought we could have had at least have a point."

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Defeat is difficult to take - Karanka

What next?

Manchester United will aim to continue their winning run when they travel to West Ham on Monday (kick-off 17:15 GMT), while Middlesbrough host champions Leicester on the same day (12:30 GMT).

Pogba starting to take control

  • Manchester United have won five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2015 (when they won six in a row).
  • After failing to score with their first 30 shots on goal against Middlesbrough, the Red Devils then scored with their final two attempts to make it 2-1.
  • Paul Pogba has been directly involved in five goals in his last four Premier League appearances (two goals, three assists).
  • Boro have now won just one of their last 23 away games in the Premier League (won one, drawn six, lost 16).
  • Grant Leadbitter scored his first Premier League goal since 14 March 2009 (2849 days ago, for Sunderland v Wigan) - only seven players in competition history have gone longer between goals

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 3Bailly
  • 12SmallingSubstituted forRashfordat 72'minutes
  • 17BlindBooked at 57minsSubstituted forRojoat 64'minutes
  • 27FellainiSubstituted forMataat 64'minutes
  • 21Herrera
  • 6Pogba
  • 22Mkhitaryan
  • 9Ibrahimovic
  • 11Martial

Substitutes

  • 4Jones
  • 5Rojo
  • 8Mata
  • 14Lingard
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero
  • 31Schweinsteiger

Middlesbrough

  • 26Valdés
  • 25ChambersBooked at 90mins
  • 5Bernardo
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 14de Roon
  • 37TraoréSubstituted forFabioat 82'minutes
  • 34Forshaw
  • 7LeadbitterSubstituted forClaytonat 78'minutes
  • 19DowningSubstituted forRamírezat 63'minutes
  • 10Negredo

Substitutes

  • 2Fabio
  • 4Ayala
  • 8Clayton
  • 9Rhodes
  • 12Guzan
  • 18Stuani
  • 21Ramírez
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
75,314

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home32
Away9
Shots on Target
Home12
Away2
Corners
Home12
Away2
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Middlesbrough 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Middlesbrough 1.

Offside, Manchester United. Anthony Martial tries a through ball, but Juan Mata is caught offside.

Booking

Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough).

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bernardo (Middlesbrough).

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Attempt saved. Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by George Friend.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 2, Middlesbrough 1. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 1, Middlesbrough 1. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a headed pass.

Attempt saved. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

Attempt blocked. Juan Mata (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a headed pass.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Adam Clayton.

Attempt blocked. Juan Mata (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Paul Pogba with a headed pass.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Fabio replaces Adama Traoré.

Delay in match Anthony Martial (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a through ball.

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton replaces Grant Leadbitter.

Foul by Anthony Martial (Manchester United).

Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

Attempt missed. Ander Herrera (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough).

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Marcus Rashford replaces Chris Smalling.

Offside, Manchester United. Anthony Martial tries a through ball, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is caught offside.

Foul by Marcos Rojo (Manchester United).

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Offside, Manchester United. Ander Herrera tries a through ball, but Chris Smalling is caught offside.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Víctor Valdés.

Attempt saved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea19161242132949
2Liverpool19134246212543
3Man City19123439211839
4Arsenal18114339192037
5Tottenham18106233132036
6Man Utd19106329191036
7Everton197662523227
8West Brom197572523226
9Southampton196671922-324
10Bournemouth197392631-524
11Burnley1972102129-823
12Watford186482230-822
13West Ham196492333-1022
14Stoke195682232-1021
15Leicester195592431-720
16Middlesbrough194691722-518
17Crystal Palace1844102933-416
18Sunderland1942131735-1814
19Hull1934121641-2513
20Swansea1933132144-2312
View full Premier League table

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