United held by West Ham to set up tense finale with Leicester

epa08560960 Nemanja Matic of Manchester United (L) in action against Mark Noble of West Ham (R) during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United in Manchester, Britain, 22 July 2020. EPA-EFE/Cath Ivill/NMC/Pool EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

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A weary-looking Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United on Wednesday, leaving them needing at least a draw from their final match of the Premier League season at Leicester City to guarantee a Champions League spot.

The Hammers took the lead on the stroke of halftime through a Michail Antonio penalty before a fine Mason Greenwood strike in the 51st minute brought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side level.

The point was enough to secure top-flight survival for West Ham who moved up to 15th place on 38 points — four points above 18th-placed Watford.

United are in third place on 63 points, Chelsea are fourth, also on 63 points ahead of their game at champions Liverpool later on Wednesday. Leicester are fifth on 62 points.

After the disappointment of their 3-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, Solskjaer was hoping for a positive reaction from his team but United looked tired and uninspired in what was a poor performance.

David Moyes’s side sat deep and crowded the centre of the field and United struggled to create openings from wide and lacked sharpness and creativity.

West Ham got in front when Paul Pogba raised his hands to protect his face from a long-range Declan Rice effort, giving referee Paul Tierney an easy decision to award the spot kick.

United made a bright start after the break and once again it was their 18-year-old talent Greenwood who provided the inspiration, his 17th goal in all competitions coming with a sweet drive after a clever exchange of passes with Anthony Martial.

Solskjaer’s goal this season has been to return to the Champions League and while his team are stumbling towards the finish line, they will succeed in that aim if they can avoid defeat on Sunday at Leicester.


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