Mata punishes the Canaries

Norwich-MUFC-16Juan Mata scored a crucial goal today as the Red Devils travelled to Carrow Road to face Norwich City, keeping the Red Devils just behind the 4th spot in the table, while the Canaries edged closer to relegation with this defeat.

United rested Rashford for this tie, while Martial picked up an injury before kick-off, and was replaced by Herrera. Norwich looked to seize the opportunity with the lack of attacking threat from the Red Devils, and could have been ahead on the 4th minute itself. Jerome was left completely unmarked in the box, but De Gea produced a quality reflex save to deny the former’s header from getting in. United tried to react timidly at the other end, but were dealt with another blow on the 12th minute, as Darmian picked up a blow from Pinto, and after a lengthy treatment on the field, had to be eventually stretchered off, his replacement being Borthwick-Jackson. Smalling came close for United on the half-hour mark, but failed to connect with the header properly as the ball went over the bar.

United looked livelier in the second half, but struggled to create any dangerous chances on goal. Herrera fired into the side-netting, while Smalling could do little about Rojo’s flicked ball. United eventually found the much awaited goal on the 72nd minute, as Bassong was surprised by a long ball sent forward, and Rooney took full opportunity and showed real calm to hold on to the ball in the box, before delivering a pass to the incoming Mata, who fired past Ruddy for the opener. Schneiderlin had the chance to make it 0-2 for United, but dragged his effort wide off target, but his profligacy remained unpunished by the home-side, as United held on to the win.