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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:30 21st January 2017

REPORT: Stoke City 1 Manchester United 1

- Potters led the game through Juan Mata’s first-half OG.
- Wayne Rooney nets stunning injury time leveller to break Bobby Charlton’s all-time goalscoring record for the club.
- Mark Hughes’ side remain unbeaten in the Premier League in 2017 whilst Jose Mourinho’s troops remain unbeaten since the Autumn.
- First time since 1972/73 that United have failed to beat the Potters at home or away.

WAYNE ROONEY’S sensational stoppage time free-kick broke Stoke City hearts at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the England international rescued a point for Manchester United and extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches.

Mark Hughes’ side had looked to be on course for a third successive Premier League victory in 2017 courtesy of Juan Mata’s unfortunate own goal early in the first-half, before substitute Rooney let rip an unstoppable effort deep into injury time to save his side’s blushes.

Despite the late anguish for the hosts, the supporters undoubtedly departed the stadium in fine spirits having seen their side produce undoubtedly their most resilient display of the campaign thus far.

As was the case in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford earlier in the season, Lee Grant was a constant thorn in the side of Jose Mourinho’s side, producing several key saves throughout the proceedings to keep the visitors at bay.

It was the hosts though, who came into the encounter buoyed by the acquisition of Saido Berahino from West Bromwich Albion 24 hours earlier, who were to draw first blood - albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances.

That said, whilst lady luck shined on Erik Pieters, whose ball across goal was inadvertently turned past his own goalkeeper by Mata, there was nothing lucky about the outstanding, and fluid, build-up play between Peter Crouch, Joe Allen and Marko Arnautovic.

The breakthrough had City’s tails up, and they were unfortunate not to have gone two up when the impressive Xherdan Shaqiri curled an effort wide of goal, whilst Peter Crouch, chasing his 100th top-flight goal, narrowly failed to make contact with a swinging centre from Charlie Adam.

At the other end, Hughes and his troops had their hearts in their mouths when Zlatan Ibrahimovic unselfishly fed the ball across goal to Mata, only for the Spaniard to somehow blaze over with the goal at his mercy.

That was one of the few occasions throughout the 90 minutes that United forged a clear sight of the Potters goal, with the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and the rest of the backline throwing their bodies on the line in a bid to preserve their narrow advantage.

Grant deservedly claimed the man of the match award in the 1-1 draw in Manchester last year, and he was certainly in the running for it this time round too - thwarting the likes of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini with outstanding one-handed stops.

The visitors looked the more dominant side after a relatively even opening period, although they still struggled to fashion too many clear-cut opportunities, with their most meaningful moments falling to substitute Jesse Lingard, who rattled the woodwork from distance, and Pogba, who forced Grant into another smart save.

As the minutes ticked down towards the conclusion of the entertaining affair, both managers made changes to their sides - Hughes introduced Ibrahim Afellay, Giannelli Imbula and Julien Ngoy whilst Mourinho thrust the attacking trio of Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Rooney onto the field in a bid to salvage a point for his side.

It appeared that the home side, who were almost out on their legs at the death, had done enough to secure another memorable triumph over the Red Devils, only for Rooney to dramatically have the final say, four minutes into additional time, with a stunning strike that sent the travelling supporters into raptures.

Still, the performance will undoubtedly give Hughes plenty of reason for optimism as he looks to make further history over the course of the campaign, whilst the watching Berahino will have taken huge satisfaction from seeing his new teammates run the top-flight’s most in-form side so close.

    QUICK FACTS

    The Potters played out four replays to finally beat Bury in the FA Cup in 1955