Radamel Falcao rescued his Manchester United team a 1-1 draw against a determined 10-man Aston Villa side.
The Columbian headed home from six yards out to cancel out Christian Benteke’s wonderful early strike to score his second and much needed goal to justify his high price tag.
The point left Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal frustrated with his team and their performance saying “it was two points dropped. It’s frustrating being the better team and not winning”.
The Red Devils’ were searching for their eighth straight win over the Villans’ coming into the game as well as being on a six game unbeaten streak too but came unstuck against a determined Aston Villa side. Paul Lambert set up his team with five at the back and with the objective of hitting their opponent’s on the break or from a free kick and with 18 minutes they surprisingly found themselves ahead.
Fabian Delph, making his first start since returning from injury, whipped in a free kick from the left hand side to the far post where Benteke chested it down, skipped past Johnny Evans and curled in a sumptuous effort from just inside the penalty area leaving in form keeper David De Gea completely rooted to the spot.
Villa’s defensive stability left little or no room for the away team to exploit meaning in the first half they had one shot on goal which was strewn wide by Robin Van Persie.
At half time Van Gaal pushed Michael Carrick into midfield to try and add some impetus to their world class front line. This also had the added effect of allowing Captain Wayne Rooney, who opted for a deeper lying centre midfield role, more room to spread the play which stretched Villa’s back line. Consequently it was only a matter of time before the 20 times champions of England equalled the game.
Former Villa man Ashley young burst down the left leaving full back Matthew Lowton eating his dust. He then cut back a cross from the byline directly onto the head of an unmarked Falcao who headed home to level the game.
The home team had a good chance to get themselves back in the lead. A corner from the left by Delph was met by Benteke who’s header was tipped over the crossbar by De Gea to prove he is still in his current form which has seen him linked with a move to real Madrid.
The game swung even more in Manchester United’s way two minutes later when Villa were reduced to 10 men. A 50-50 challenge on the halfway line between Gabriel Agbonlahor and his famous team mate Ashley young saw the United player coming off worse. Referee Lee Mason reached for his red card without hesitation a decision which replays showed to be an incorrect decision.
Despite this, Villa had a chance to snatch the game late on. Delph, the man of the match, burst through the United defence and passed it to the right of the box where substitute Leandro Bacuna fired from 25 yards out but his effort went inches over the crossbar.
Both teams held on to earn a fair point but the red card decision angered Villa manager Lambert. “Ashley Young admitted to (Brad) Guzan after the game that he fouled Gabby (Agbonlahor)” but when questioned about Young’s reaction to the foul he said “in the heat of the game you aren’t going to spring up and say ‘it wasn’t a foul’”.