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Manchester United 1-1 Fulham: Edinson Cavani scores stunner in Man Utd draw

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring against Fulham
Edinson Cavani is only the third Man Utd player to reach 10+ goals in a single Premier League season

Manchester United's Premier League draw against relegated Fulham will be a "wake-up call" before next week's Europa League final against Villarreal, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Edinson Cavani welcomed the return of fans back to the Premier League with a brilliant 40-yard lobbed goal, but United were unable to mark the occasion with a victory as Fulham came back to draw at Old Trafford

Aside from a handful of games at a lucky few clubs in December, supporters have been absent from top-flight league football since 9 March 2020.

No supporters have seen a goal at Old Trafford since Scott McTominay's inspired second in United's Manchester derby win over City the day before.

There were only 10,000 present to see Cavani's inspired effort, but what a noise they made as the Uruguayan strode onto a long ball downfield from David de Gea, which VAR felt touched Bruno Fernandes on the way through, before lifting the ball over Alphonso Areola with a perfectly executed finish that floated into the net.

For a long time it looked like being the winner, until Joe Bryan was allowed to ghost in at the far post unchallenged to convert Bobby Decordova-Reid's deep cross from the right.

Solskjaer said: "I think it might be a wake-up call because we tried to do the fancy stuff - the flicks, the extraordinary things, the things that pleased the fans.

"That's not what we're about. We should be more efficient.

"Have a look at Cavani, have a look at how he plays the game. Every single one of us look at him.

"Back tackles, runs, scores - there's no fluff. And we can't have fluff in a game of football."

De Gea's uncertain future

After Alisson's amazing winner for Liverpool on Sunday, there was genuine debate around whether De Gea made another telling contribution by a goalkeeper to his team's offensive effort.

TV replays indicated Fernandes failed to get a touch as he attempted to flick De Gea's pass through to Cavani, something the forward himself admitted afterwards. But if that was correct, Cavani should have been ruled offside by VAR.

De Gea's selection was interesting in itself.

The Spain keeper has lost his place to Dean Henderson in recent weeks, but Henderson was at fault for at least one of Liverpool's four goals in their win over United six days previously, so it was not completely clear whether De Gea had got his place back or was being granted a farewell appearance after 10 years of largely outstanding service.

Both scenarios have their complications. For Henderson, another season as back up is unlikely to appeal given his England aspirations, whilst De Gea is one of the Premier League's highest-paid players. Finding a club to match that salary, let alone pay a transfer fee, is not going to be easy.

Until Bryan's goal, De Gea did not have much to do against the top-flight's second-worst attack. He did make saves to deny Ademola Lookman and Fabio Carvalho and had little chance of keeping Bryan's equaliser out.

Green and gold

Manchester United fans
Many of the Manchester United fans inside Old Trafford protested against the club's owners

In contrast to protests that caused the first meeting with Liverpool earlier this month to the called off and extreme measures, including beds being transported into the stadium for players to sleep on, being implemented to ensure the second one went ahead, this match was completed in relative peace.

There were still a lot of police and a helicopter circled above the stadium before the game. But those who chose to wear the green and gold anti-Glazer colours almost exclusively restricted themselves to regular chanting against the club's American owners.

A mooted 51st-minute protest to press the case for the '50+1' German ownership model clashed with a dangerous free-kick for the hosts - both fizzled out.

For United staff and Solskjaer, who had appealed for calm in the build-up, it was doubtless a relief.

After the match, Solskjaer spoke on a microphone just prior to a walk round the pitch, in which Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo paraded a Palestine flag, to declare United "were not where he wanted them to be" but hoped to bring the Europa League trophy back to England next week.

The loss of McTominay to what appeared to be an injury midway through the second half will be a worry before the meeting with Villarreal in Gdansk on 26 May, as will the paltry nine league wins on home soil this season.

Tonight, though, was all about the fans - and despite the result, they seemed happy just to be here.

When asked about Pogba and Diallo holding up the Palestine flag, Solskjaer replied: "We have players from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries and we need to respect their views if they differ from someone else's.

"If my players think about other things than football, that's a positive thing.

"We have seen that with some of my players before, that they do care. You see Marcus Rashford, for example, the difference he has made.

"So, no, we respect their right to have a different view."

Manchester United 1-1 Fulham: Solskjaer praises Cavani's 40-yard strike

'I don't understand how it's not offside'

Fulham boss Scott Parker felt his side were superb but also took exception to United's opener, believing it should have been ruled out for offside against Cavani.

"I thought we were fantastic today," he told Sky Sports. "We played like a big team. We had to be courageous.

"It's a difficult place to come Old Trafford, let alone today with 10,000 fans in. I'm very proud and overall pleased with the performance."

When asked about Cavani's goal, he said: "I don't understand how it's not offside.

"The fourth official said if Fernandes hasn't touched it he's five yards offside. I've looked at it back. I can understand if we didn't have VAR, I get that that goal can be given due to human error, but when you can slow it down and look at the angles you can see he's not touched it."

Man Utd 1-1 Fulham: VAR decision on Cavani goal 'unacceptable' - Parker

What's next?

Manchester United complete their Premier League campaign at Wolves on Sunday, 23 May (16:00 BST) before facing Villarreal in the Europa League final in Gdansk on Wednesday, 26 May (20:00 BST).

Fulham's last game as a top-flight club for at least 12 months is against Newcastle at Craven Cottage, also on 23 May (16:00 BST).

Man Utd's leaky defence at home - the stats

  • Manchester United have dropped 10 points from winning positions at Old Trafford this season - their highest ever such total at home in a Premier League season.
  • Fulham picked up a point from a losing position versus United at Old Trafford for only the second time in Premier League history, also doing so in February 2014 - a game in which current manager Scott Parker played for the visitors.
  • United are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games against Fulham (W10 D3), since losing 3-0 in December 2009.
  • United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season - they last conceded more at Old Trafford in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38).
  • Fulham have conceded more Premier League goals against United than they have versus any other side in the competition (68).
  • Cavani becomes only the third Man Utd player to reach 10+ goals in a single Premier League season while aged 33 or over at the start of that campaign, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17.
  • Cavani is the 25th different player to score 10+ goals in a single Premier League season for Man Utd - more than any other team in the competition's history (Arsenal 24 players).

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 38Tuanzebe
  • 23ShawBooked at 89mins
  • 39McTominaySubstituted forRashfordat 62'minutes
  • 17Fred
  • 11GreenwoodSubstituted forDialloat 83'minutes
  • 18Bruno FernandesBooked at 19mins
  • 6Pogba
  • 7CavaniSubstituted forvan de Beekat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 8Mata
  • 10Rashford
  • 19Diallo
  • 26Henderson
  • 27Telles
  • 31Matic
  • 33Williams
  • 34van de Beek

Fulham

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1AreolaBooked at 90mins
  • 18LeminaBooked at 51mins
  • 16Tosin
  • 13Ream
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 21ReedSubstituted forAndersenat 32'minutes
  • 23Bryan
  • 48CarvalhoSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 63'minutes
  • 19LookmanBooked at 87minsSubstituted forTeteat 89'minutes
  • 17Cavaleiro

Substitutes

  • 2Tete
  • 3Hector
  • 4Odoi
  • 5Andersen
  • 12Rodák
  • 15Loftus-Cheek
  • 25Onomah
  • 27Maja
  • 34Aina
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
10,000

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home13
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away1
Fouls
Home10
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Fulham 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Fulham 1.

  3. Booking

    Alphonse Areola (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Amad (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Joe Bryan (Fulham).

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Joe Bryan (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United).

  8. Post update

    Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Booking

    Luke Shaw (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

  11. Post update

    Kenny Tete (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Kenny Tete replaces Ademola Lookman.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Donny van de Beek replaces Edinson Cavani.

  14. Booking

    Ademola Lookman (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Ademola Lookman (Fulham).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Amad replaces Mason Greenwood.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Pogba.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United).

  20. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Player of the match

TeteKenny Tete

with an average of 7.21

Manchester United

  1. Squad number7Player nameCavani
    Average rating

    6.93

  2. Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
    Average rating

    5.65

  3. Squad number1Player namede Gea
    Average rating

    5.52

  4. Squad number11Player nameGreenwood
    Average rating

    5.26

  5. Squad number23Player nameShaw
    Average rating

    5.20

  6. Squad number29Player nameWan-Bissaka
    Average rating

    5.15

  7. Squad number39Player nameMcTominay
    Average rating

    5.01

  8. Squad number6Player namePogba
    Average rating

    4.97

  9. Squad number38Player nameTuanzebe
    Average rating

    4.85

  10. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
    Average rating

    4.62

  11. Squad number10Player nameRashford
    Average rating

    4.51

  12. Squad number17Player nameFred
    Average rating

    4.39

  13. Squad number19Player nameAmad
    Average rating

    4.20

  14. Squad number34Player namevan de Beek
    Average rating

    4.07

Fulham

  1. Squad number2Player nameTete
    Average rating

    7.21

  2. Squad number15Player nameLoftus-Cheek
    Average rating

    7.18

  3. Squad number23Player nameBryan
    Average rating

    7.11

  4. Squad number5Player nameAndersen
    Average rating

    7.02

  5. Squad number48Player nameCarvalho
    Average rating

    6.92

  6. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro
    Average rating

    6.88

  7. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid
    Average rating

    6.87

  8. Squad number19Player nameLookman
    Average rating

    6.84

  9. Squad number1Player nameAreola
    Average rating

    6.75

  10. Squad number21Player nameReed
    Average rating

    6.74

  11. Squad number13Player nameReam
    Average rating

    6.73

  12. Squad number18Player nameLemina
    Average rating

    6.73

  13. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa
    Average rating

    6.73

  14. Squad number16Player nameTosin
    Average rating

    6.66

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