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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Fulham let ailing Man United off the hook after sucker-punch defeat at the last

Fulham (0) 0

Manchester United (0) 1 Fernandes 90+1

If not today, when?

Having gone 17 games without a win against United - the Whites' last triumph came in 2009 when they won 3-0 at the Cottage - this seemed like the ideal opportunity to put a stop to a dreadful sequence.

Instead, just like last season, they were sucker-punched by a last minute winner. Last season, just before the Qatar World Cup, Alejandro Garnacho broke the Whites, this time it was the United captain's turn to spoil the afternoon.

This was definitely a case of a huge missed opportunity for Marco Silva's men. United were poor for the most part, creating very little, but when Joao Palhinha was forced into a panicked clearance near his own goalline, the ball fell straight to Fernandes on the edge of the area - and after a return pass from sub Facundo Pellestri, the Portuguese fired into the bottom corner

Even without Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff in the ranks - the scorers on that day they last won against the Red Devils - hopes were high before kick-off of landing only a 14th win against United in 87 league and cup meetings.

After all, United were on the ropes after successive 3-0 home defeats to Man City in the league and Newcastle in the Carabao Cup and a general malaise seems to have descended on Erik ten Hag's brave new world. And that is before factoring in the discontent generated by ownership issues and the recent death of Sir Bobby Charlton.

But they never seem to catch a break against United and paid for the lack of a cutting edge.

The Whites were fortunate not to be a goal behind after seven minutes when Scott McTominay turned in a low cross from the far post from Garnacho following a flighted free-kick from Christian Eriksen. But a lengthy VAR check found an offside offence in the works.

Once that mini drama was over, the Whites settled down, looking comfortable at the back and suggesting they might find joy down the flanks, with Willian and Harry Wilson both making threatening runs - albeit without the end product Mitrovic used to provide. Alex Iwobi's dazzling first-half run from deep ended with him blazing over for lack of real passing options.

Bernd Leno had little to do before the break but was forced to be watchful twice after the interval when Garnacho tested him out and, late on, dived low to his left to keep out a free-kick from Fernandes. But he was still beaten in the final moments.

The Whites came closer to breaking the deadlock when Wilson broke onto Iwobi's pass and forced Andre Onana into a fine save and moments later, Palhinha also forced the United keeper into action before Rodrigo Muniz headed a corner just over.

It suggested the Whites were about to end that horrible run against the visitors. Once again, it was not to be.

Whites: (4-2-3-1) Leno - Castagne, Bassey, Ream, Robinson - Wilson (Cairney 90), Joao Palhinha - Iwobi (Jimenez 90) Pereira (Decordova-Reid 81), Willian (Lucic 76) - Muniz (Vinicius 76)

United: (4-2-3-1) Onana - Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Evans, Dalot - Eriksen (Mount 79), McTominay - Antony (Pellestri 63), Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho (Varane 90+3) - Hojlund (Martial 79)

Attendance: 24,415


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