Man Utd 1-2 Fulham: The hosts’ pursuit for a top-four finish is derailed by Alex Iwobi’s stoppage-time winner

Feb 26, 2024

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LONDON, England – With a thrilling stoppage-time winner, Alex Iwobi startled Manchester United, as Fulham crushed Erik ten Hag’s team’s dreams of finishing in the top four at Old Trafford, 2-1.

In 2024, Rasmus Hojlund had scored seven goals in his previous six games, and United had won their past five games and remained undefeated.

However, the striker suffered an injury in midweek, leaving United without a weapon. Omari Forson, who started his first professional game after being chosen over £86 million acquisition of Antony, found it difficult to fill the vacuum.

The only surprise was that Fulham needed until the 65th minute to take the lead when Calvin Bassey struck the ball into the net after United mishandled a set-piece. Fulham squandered other opportunities.

After Bernd Leno mishandled a shot towards Harry Maguire, the hosts finally managed to respond and leveled the score when the latter tapped in from close range.

After that goal turned the tide in favor of United, Fulham surprised their hosts by going ahead 8 points thanks to a counterattack that Iwobi finished in the 97th minute. Ten Hag’s club is now eight points behind Aston Villa in fourth place.

How Fulham shocked United was in decline

Chris Coleman led Fulham to their last Premier League victory at Old Trafford 21 years ago, and with Joao Palhinha out due to suspension and the fact that the visitors had only triumphed once in their previous eight games, United was undoubtedly confident of continuing that record.

However, Hojlund’s absence proved to be crucial, as United was mostly on the back foot in the first half due to Forson and Marcus Rashford’s struggles to be a danger.

Iwobi missed two clear opportunities to give Fulham the lead going into halftime, as Andre Onana turned away both the formidable Rodrigo Muniz and former United player Andreas Pereira.

Then, as Fulham consistently broke through United’s nonexistent midfield, Muniz blasted a shot against the post. However, the home team responded before halftime, as Diogo Dalot clipped the post and Alejandro Garnacho was denied by Leno and a brilliant clearing by Antonee Robinson.

However, after the restart, United was second best, and soon after Casemiro went down with a head injury, Bassey gave Fulham a well-earned lead when Victor Lindelof failed to clear a corner.

With a late break from Rashford and a free header from Maguire over the crossbar, the hosts finally started to pose a threat to Fulham. However, the defender made up for his poor save when he punished Leno.

United was given nine minutes of extra time, which gave them momentum. Bruno Fernandes repeatedly put Leno to the test as Fulham found themselves clutching to a draw.

That is, until Adama Traore scooped up the ball in his own half, raced past the helpless Maguire, and carried it into the United zone, allowing Iwobi to enter the area and beat Onana with a shot.

Although securing a sixth Champions League spot in the Premier League could alleviate the pain of slipping farther behind Villa, United’s lackluster performance once more begs concerns about Ten Hag’s direction of travel.

Player evaluations:

  • Man United: Forson (6), Fernandes (6), Garnacho (7), Onana (6), Dalot (6), Varane (5), Maguire (6), Lindelof (6), Mainoo (6), Casemiro (6), Forson (6), Arnaud (6), Rashford (6). 
  • Eriksen (6), McTominay (6), Diallo (6), Antony (n/a) are the substitutes. 
  • Fulham: Robinson (6), Reed (6), Leno (7), Castagne (6), Tosin (7), Bassey (7), Wilson (6), Lukic (6), Pereira (7), Iwobi (8), Muniz (8). 
  • Subs: Diop (n/a), Traore (7), and Cairney (7). 

Alex Iwobi was the match’s MVP.

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