Thursday 17 January 2019

Manchester United ease past Bournemouth to tighten grip on second place

Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal vs Bournemouth. Photo: AFP
Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal vs Bournemouth. Photo: AFP

David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera were the only survivors from Manchester United's 1-0 home defeat by West Brom on Sunday while Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian were handed rare starts.

United were in control at half-time thanks to Smalling's second goal in three games.

The centre-back, who scored the winner in United's dramatic victory over Manchester City, was in the right place to tuck home Jesse Lingard's low cross in the 28th minute after Herrera's neat ball opened up the Bournemouth defence.

The Cherries - beaten 3-0 by Liverpool on Saturday - finished the half on top and had their best chance on the stroke of the break, Josh King forcing De Gea to beat away his powerful shot.

Substitute Lukaku secured a comfortable 2-0 win for United in the 70th minute by adding the finishing touches to a swift counter-attack.

The striker was played in by Paul Pogba and clipped a left-footed finish over the onrushing Asmir Begovic to finish Bournemouth off.

The result leaves United four points clear of Liverpool and six better off than Tottenham in the battle for second place.

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