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Ibrahimovic’s late goal earns United 1-1 draw vs Liverpool

By AP - Jan 15,2017 - Last updated at Jan 15,2017

Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring their first goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Sunday (Reuters photo by Phil Noble)

MANCHESTER, England — Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised late for Manchester United to salvage a 1-1 draw against fierce rival Liverpool in a result that damaged both teams’ Premier League title chances on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic cancelled out James Milner’s 27th-minute penalty by glancing a header in off the crossbar in the 84th minute at Old Trafford.

Liverpool ended United’s nine-game winning run in all competitions — six of which had come in the league — but dropped seven points behind first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-placed United was 12 points off the leader.

On the day United rolled out advertising hoardings displaying Paul Pogba’s new Twitter emoji, the player himself made a crucial mistake by conceding a penalty while jumping with his back to the ball at a corner.

Milner converted to give Liverpool the lead against the run of play but the visitors created little else in an intense, scrappy match between English football’s two most decorated clubs.

Wayne Rooney, needing one goal to surpass Bobby Charlton as United’s outright record scorer, came on for the start of the second half but did not have a genuine chance at a history-making goal.

The recent hot streak had raised the possibility of United making a late run at the title, so this result was a setback.

“We get one point, but we were not on the top of our game. It was a hard fight, a hard game,” Ibrahimovic said. “I think we did simple mistakes. We were not comfortable.”

United got its reward with a more direct approach late in the game. Marouane Fellaini came on as a 76th-minute substitute and the tall Belgian made a difference — and played a key role in the goal.

His glancing header from a left-wing cross struck the post and the ball eventually made its way to right back Antonio Valencia, whose return cross was met by Ibrahimovic for his 14th league goal of the season.

Milner’s penalty was Liverpool’s only real chance in the first half, with United having more sight at goal — in particular one-on-one chances for Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Pogba skewed his chance wide and Mkhitaryan was denied by Simon Mignolet.

Rooney’s arrival in place of Michael Carrick meant the game became more open and disjointed, and Liverpool suddenly looked dangerous on the counterattack, especially after Philippe Coutinho came on as a substitute.

“We didn’t reflect the qualities we have and Liverpool have but it was very emotional, intense, aggressive. We fought until the last second,” Mourinho said.

 

“We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended.”

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