EPL

Bournemouth denied late penalty by VAR as Manchester United escape with draw

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

Bournemouth had an added-time penalty award overturned by VAR as disjointed Manchester United escaped Vitality Stadium with a scarcely-deserved 2-2 draw thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ brace.

Referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot five minutes beyond the 90 when Ryan Christie went down under a challenge from Willy Kambwala before changing his decision to a free-kick on review.

Erik ten Hag’s men were tormented for much of an uninspiring performance in Dorset and twice trailed in the first half following goals from Cherries pair Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert.

Fernandes volleyed home his first equaliser against the run of play before denying the impressive hosts a maiden league double over the 20-time English champions by converting a 65th-minute penalty after Adam Smith inexplicably handled.

United’s Portuguese captain also rattled the crossbar with a stunning strike from distance at 2-1 down in stoppage time at the end of an exhilarating opening period.

Yet outstanding Bournemouth, who hit the woodwork through Milos Kerkez and wasted numerous other chances, should have have been out of sight by then.

United move on to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Coventry sitting seventh in the table and with European qualification for next term still far from assured following another disappointing display of an unconvincing season, which extended their winless run to four top-flight games.

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    While this season's Premier League title challenge ultimately fizzled out, Klopp used his programme notes to laud his players and staff for their efforts.

    He wrote: "If space allowed I could write name after name of people who I need to thank but there has never been a match programme of this size, so I will have to be more general. I could not be more appreciative of the players past and present who have served this club in the nine years that I have been here.

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    "This will be the final time that we will see two of them – Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara – at Anfield and I know they will be given the send-off that they deserve.

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    "This will also be the end of an era for several members of our coaching and backroom staff who will also move on. To put it simply, I could not have more appreciation for the work that has been done by Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, Vitor Matos, John Achterberg, Jack Robinson, Andreas Kornmayer, Andreas Schlumberger and Ray Haughan.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Liverpool - Mohamed Salah

    Salah is set to make his 250th Premier League appearance for Liverpool in this match. The Egyptian already has the second-highest combined goals and assists tally by any player in their first 250 appearances for a single club in the competition (223 – 155 goals, 68 assists), behind only Thierry Henry for Arsenal (243 – 171 goals, 72 assists).

    Wolves - Hwang Hee-chan

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    MATCH PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL WIN

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    Liverpool - 65.6%

    Wolves - 12.7%

    Draw - 21.7%

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