Tuesday 11 August, 2020

Pogba penalties secure three points for Manchester United

Paul Pogba celebrates scoring for Manchester United.

Paul Pogba celebrates scoring for Manchester United.

Paul Pogba converted two penalties either side of half-time to lift Manchester United to an unconvincing 2-1 win over West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Star man Pogba beat Lukasz Fabianski for the second time in the 80th minute to snatch just a second victory in six competitive games that sends Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side back to within two points of the Premier League's top four.

West Ham had been on top after Felipe Anderson cancelled out Pogba's first-half opener and substitute Michail Antonio twice went close to giving them a late lead.

But, following Ryan Fredericks' panicked challenge on Anthony Martial in the box, Pogba's second penalty ensured the hosts rebounded from Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Barcelona and can look ahead to the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie next week with renewed optimism.

United should have fallen behind in the 10th minute as replays showed Felipe Anderson, adjudged offside, to have been level with Diogo Dalot when firing in following Javier Hernandez's downward header.

The hosts quickly made the reprieve count.

Robert Snodgrass clumsily tripped Juan Mata just inside the box and Pogba, eschewing his usual stuttering run-up for a conventional approach, sent Lukasz Fabianski the wrong way.

West Ham continued to show positive intent and there was no denying Felipe Anderson in the 49th minute, the Brazilian ghosting in at the far post and tucking away Manuel Lanzini's cross.

Marcus Rashford was hastily introduced and he forced Fabianski into a one-handed save before nodding over at close range.

Antonio rattled the crossbar at the other end before David de Gea brilliantly denied the Hammers winger a minute later.

In the end, it was Pogba who had the final say, the France midfielder dispatching the winner after Fredericks, on as a substitute three minutes earlier, scythed down Martial as the winger shaped to shoot.

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