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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Sickener for battling Fulham as last-ditch goal gives Man United another win at the Cottage

Fulham (0) 1 James 61

Manchester United (1) 2 Eriksen 14, Garnacho 90

A goal in the third and final minute of injury time denied Fulham what would have been a deserved point after a stirring effort.

Dan James came off the bench on the hour to cancel out a Christian Eriksen opener and the Whites looked like they might go on to claim that famous United scalp.

But with the clock firmly in the red, 18-year-old sub Alejandro Garnacho tore in from the left and raced on to slip Eriksen’s deft return pass into the far corner of the net.

It is the second week running they have suffered late-goal agony. They were also beaten by Erling Haaland's injury-time penalty for Man City at the Etihad last weekend.

It was so rough on the Whites, who played with so much verve and energy, but it is sadly in keeping with the history of this fixture.

The odd afternoon of Steed Malbranque magic at Old Trafford and Papa Bouba Diop blitzers apart, this has not been a clash to gladden the hearts on Fulham fans this century and it was a sixth win in a row for United at the Cottage.

Fulham have now gone 15 encounters without a win against the men from Old Trafford – a run stretching back to December 2009.

United led early on. Having won possession in the centre circle through Casemiro, the ball was quickly worked to Anthony Martial, who fed Bruno Fernandes in the inside left channel and the Portuguese sent in a low cross to the far post for an unmarked Eriksen to tap in.

And in truth, United could have had more in the first 45 minutes.

The Whites got lucky when Bernd Leno did just enough to take the sting out of a Martial effort for the ball to be cleared and the French striker headed another good first-half chance just over and Eriksen almost side-footed home a second just before the break.

Yet Fulham were the ones mainly driving the tempo and playing on the front foot. A fine move begun by Tim Ream ended with Willian playing Harry Wilson in on the right and a cut inside ended with a rasping drive which David de Gea had to stretch to reach.

Carlos Vinicius was a presence, but nowhere near as imposing as the absent Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is nursing a knock and was badly missed. Clear chances seem to elude the Whites, despite the vibrancy of their play and their snapping into tackles.

United kept fashioning the better chances. Anthony Elanga tested Leno after darting onto a Fernandes pass at the start of the second half – Marcus Rashford on the follow up was denied by a block.

A good chance fell to Vinicius, who shot on the turn, only for de Gea to save, and the Spaniard – who has been omitted from his country’s World Cup squad - then rose up to tip away a Ream header.

But the Whites levelled it on the hour.

Fernandes had his pocket picked by Robinson near the touchline and Willian took in on before feeding Tom Cairney for a perfect low delivery that James put away, just moments after coming on for compatriot Wilson.

Tails up, the Whites now went for it. Joao Palhinha forced de Gea into another fine save from an overhead kick. The midfielder was immense throughout and a goal would have crowned a superb shift.

A draw was the least they deserved, but once again against United, it was not to be.

Whites: (4-2-3-1) Leno – Decordova-Reid, Diop, Ream, Robinson – Cairney (Onomah 90), Palhinha – Wilson (James 59), Pereira, Willian – Vinicius. Subs not used: Rodak, Tosin, Duffy, Chalobah, Mbabu, Harris, Sekularac

United: (4-2-3-1) De Gea – Malalacia, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw – Casemiro, Eirksen – Elanga (McTominay 55), Fernandes, Rashford – Martial (Garnacho 72). Subs not used: Bishop, Dubravka, Maguire, Fred, Van de Beek, Iqbal


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