Premier League
Man UtdManchester United2FulhamFulham2

Manchester United 2-2 Fulham

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport at Old Trafford
Darren Bent scores Fulham's equaliser

Darren Bent scored an injury-time equaliser to earn Rene Meulensteen a famous result on his return to Old Trafford as bottom-of-the-table Fulham pinched a draw against Manchester United.

After Steve Sidwell had given the visitors the lead against the run of play in the first half, it looked like late goals from Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick had earned United their third consecutive home league win.

Today as bad as it gets - Moyes

But half-time substitute Bent headed in after David De Gea had saved Kieran Richardson's shot to deflate the home supporters and United boss David Moyes, whose side had dominated the game.

For all United's attacking play and 81 crosses, the most by a Premier League team since 2006, Fulham defended heroically as debutant Johnny Heitinga, fellow centre-back Dan Burn and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg excelled.

And though some might say the point was undeserved given Fulham had three shots on target, it represented a significant result for Meulensteen, who had won only three of his previous 11 Premier League games since taking charge in December.

It was the kind of performance that could galvanise their season, especially since they crashed out of the FA Cup after defeat by League One Sheffield United in midweek.

In contrast, it was another low for Moyes, whose side have already lost five games at Old Trafford this season and now sit nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool as their pursuit of a Champions League place took a serious dent.

Meulensteen, who was first-team coach under former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson before leaving the club when Moyes took over, watched his side come under pressure from the start.

Manchester United 2-2 Fulham: Rene Meulensteen 'delighted' with late draw

And their opener came against the run of play as United's defenders failed to pick up Sidwell's run, with the Englishman guiding home on the volley after being found by Lewis Holtby's excellent chip.

Van Persie was denied by a superb Sascha Riether tackle prior to the goal and the United forward should have equalised moments after the opener, when he skied Rafael's cross at the back post.

Urged on by a noisy crowd, with United trying out their singing section again, the hosts continued to bombard Fulham's goal from a succession of crosses. Ashley Young and Carrick went close to scoring an equaliser and Stekelenburg also saved another Carrick effort before Sidwell blocked Van Persie's follow-up.

But as Moyes's side camped in the Fulham half there was always a danger they would be susceptible to a counter-attack.

The visitors should have gone further ahead when Swedish teenager Muamer Tankovic burst forward on his Premier League debut to play in Richardson, but the former United player scooped over the bar with only De Gea to beat.

Having enjoyed 72% possession in the first half, the hosts strengthened their grip on the game after the break with Wayne Rooney almost connecting with Van Persie's cross before being denied by a superb Stekelenburg save.

With Fulham posing less of a threat, Moyes went for all-out attack by introducing Adnan Januzaj, Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez as Rooney dropped into midfield.

The policy was rewarded when Van Persie tucked in Juan Mata's centre after 78 minutes, before Carrick drove in a deflected effort from the edge of the area two minutes later.

That looked like it would be enough but Sidwell again burst forward to play in Richardson, and when his shot was stopped, Bent headed home the equaliser.

For a selection of images from Sunday's Premier League games go to the BBC Sport Facebook page.external-link

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 2da SilvaSubstituted forA Valenciaat 69'minutes
  • 3Evra
  • 16Carrick
  • 12Smalling
  • 15Vidic
  • 8Mata
  • 24FletcherSubstituted forJanuzajat 62'minutes
  • 20van Persie
  • 10Rooney
  • 18YoungSubstituted forHernándezat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Ferdinand
  • 11Giggs
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 14Hernández
  • 25A Valencia
  • 26Kagawa
  • 44Januzaj

Fulham

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 27Riether
  • 3Riise
  • 6KvistSubstituted forColeat 80'minutes
  • 4Heitinga
  • 33Burn
  • 19TunnicliffeSubstituted forParkerat 65'minutes
  • 7Sidwell
  • 43TankovicSubstituted forBentat 45'minutes
  • 10Holtby
  • 15Richardson

Substitutes

  • 5Hangeland
  • 11Kacaniklic
  • 13Stockdale
  • 16Duff
  • 21Cole
  • 28Parker
  • 39Bent
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
74,966

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home75%
Away25%
Shots
Home31
Away6
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home3
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 2, Fulham 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Fulham 2.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 2, Fulham 2. Darren Bent (Fulham) header from very close range to the centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kieran Richardson (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Steve Sidwell.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Robin van Persie.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Larnell Cole.

  8. Post update

    Hand ball by Kieran Richardson (Fulham).

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Chris Smalling.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Johnny Heitinga.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Patrice Evra with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) right footed shot from long range on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Antonio Valencia.

  13. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  14. Post update

    Delay in match Johnny Heitinga (Fulham) because of an injury.

  15. Post update

    Robin van Persie (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Johnny Heitinga (Fulham).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Larnell Cole replaces William Kvist.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 2, Fulham 1. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross.

  20. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 1, Fulham 1. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Juan Mata.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea25175347202756
2Arsenal25174448262255
3Man City25173568274154
4Liverpool25155563303350
5Tottenham2514563232047
6Everton25129437261145
7Man Utd25125841311041
8Newcastle25114103234-237
9Southampton259973629736
10Swansea2576123235-327
11Hull2576122530-527
12Aston Villa2576122736-927
13Stoke2568112640-1426
14Crystal Palace2582151834-1626
15West Ham2567122633-725
16Norwich2567121937-1825
17Sunderland2566132538-1324
18West Brom25411102937-823
19Cardiff2556141944-2521
20Fulham2562172455-3120
View full Premier League table

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