Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester United Match Report
By Harry Dalton
After a brilliant goal from Edinson Cavani was chalked off for a contentious foul in the build up by Scott McTominay on Son Heung Min, a second-half flurry saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side come away 1-3 winners with goals from Fred, Cavani and Greenwood.
Tottenham started the game pressing United high up the pitch and creating half chances early on. It was clear from the first whistle that Jose Mourinho had told his players to ruffle the feathers of United.
On the 33-minute mark, an impressive team goal neatly tucked away by Edinson Cavani was controversially overruled as a result of a perceived foul in the build-up on Son was spotted by VAR. Referee Chris Kavanagh checked the pitch side monitor and deemed the slight touch of the Spurs man’s face by Scott McTominay to have impeded play, despite major uproar from the United bench over the decision.
Spurs continued to rile up the visitors with cheap fouls and dramatic reactions to tackles to knock United off their game. Spurs appeared the better side for most of the first half by getting reactions from the United players who seemed unenthused by the fight on their hands.
Only seven minutes after the VAR intervention, the man himself Son Heung Min put Spurs ahead before half time with a far post tap-in which was put on a plate for the South Korean by Lucas Moura. As tempers flared from Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s men, the half time whistle could not come soon enough with many of the United players reacting poorly to the gamesmanship by Tottenham who led 1-0 at the break.
Manchester United came out for the second half much sharper and visibly more relaxed after the shenanigans of the first 45 minutes. On the 57-minute mark, United levelled the score with a scrappy rebound finish by Fred after a good stop from Hugo Lloris to deny Edinson Cavani. United appeared to react perfectly to their first half misfortunes and began to dictate the play at 1-1.
Throughout the second half, United continued to take charge as Paul Pogba ran riot on many occasions by dictating the play and running the Spurs defence ragged. A 72nd minute substitution saw the struggling Marcus Rashford replaced by fellow academy graduate Mason Greenwood who hit the ground running from the moment he came on.
With ten minutes still to play, Manchester United took the lead as Edinson Cavani’s world class movement landed him a tidy diving header to meet an early ball from Greenwood on the right wing. Cavani appeared to instruct the 19-year-old to play his cross sooner not long before the goal, and the young star responded by following the experienced number seven’s advice with a delicious cross for the goal.
Spurs came on strong in the final stages of the game with a corner in the 84th minute narrowly avoiding the United net as the scorer Cavani tipped a dangerous ball onto the post, which would have been tapped in by Moussa Sissoko if the Uruguayan didn’t intervene.
After avoiding a late equaliser from several Spurs set pieces in the final minutes, United managed to seal the win with a 96th minute pile-driver to the near post from the substitute Mason Greenwood. Moments later, the full-time whistle saw ecstatic celebrations from the United players and technical area, who clearly felt hard done by after they were denied a goal by VAR falling for Son’s theatrics in the first half.
Manchester United emerge 1-3 winners to extend the gap in second place to seven points ahead of third-place Leicester City who were beaten by rising top four candidates West Ham United earlier in the day. This win also sees United increase their total points won from losing positions this season to 28, once again demonstrating the character of this rising United team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Meanwhile, the result for Tottenham Hotspur leaves Jose Mourinho’s side in doubt for a finish in the Champions League places six points adrift of fourth-place West Ham. With only eight games remaining in this bizarre Premier League season, it seems that Spurs may have to fight for Europa league football as a consolation prize two years running.
As speculation continues over the future of talisman Harry Kane, this result could be even more significant for Spurs than just missing out on top four. The England captain is reported to have decided that a lack of Champions League football would force him to leave Spurs, so only time will tell just how big of a defeat this could be for Tottenham in the long-term.