Sheffield United 1-2 Man United: Ten Hag's men seal back-to-back wins

Sheffield United 1-2 Manchester United: Erik ten Hag’s side secure vital three points thanks to goals from Diogo Dalot and Scott McTominay on the day they mourn the loss of legend Sir Bobby Charlton

  • Manchester United navigated a difficult day after Sir Bobby Charlton’s death
  • Erik ten Hag’s men laboured for long periods but sealed a second straight win
  • Sheffied United put in a battling performance but remain bottom of the table 

There’s not much about the modern-day Manchester United that truly honours the memory of Sir Bobby Charlton. With uncertainty off the pitch and mediocrity on it, this club has fallen a long way from the institution he helped to build.

But at least Erik ten Hag’s side emerged victorious from a difficult night at Bramall Lane, hours after the sad news of Charlton’s passing.

To be fair to United, this was a difficult occasion – just as it was when they had to play Real Sociedad on the night the Queen died in September last year. If anybody has a right to be called footballing royalty, it was Sir Bobby Charlton.

This was also one of those nights when teams raise their game because Manchester United are in town. Maybe not the United of old – teams like Charlton’s United – but the name still means something.

This United laboured for long periods against a team sitting bottom of the Premier League with just one point to their name from nine games.

Diogo Dalot sealed the victory for Man United with a sumptuous strike from outside the area

Scott McTominay had put the Red Devils ahead with a scuffed volley against the run of play

Oli McBurnie converted from the spot to make it 1-1 but Dalot’s late goal proved too much

Scott McTominay, the two-goal hero against Brentford last time out, was at it again as he put United in front before giving away the penalty that allowed Oli McBurnie to level.

But in the 77th minute, United found another unlikely saviour in Diogo Dalot who fired a fantastic winner to give Ten Hag back-to-back wins.

Sofyan Amrabat worked the ball down the left flank where Victor Lindelof was up in support of Alejandro Garnacho. Lindelof fed it back to Dalot 25 yards from goal and the Portugal international immediately took aim with a curling right-foot strike that sailed beyond Wes Foderingham who could only help the ball on its way into the top corner.

After inspiring United’s comeback win over Brentford a fortnight ago with two late goals, McTominay was rewarded with a recall to the starting line-up and paid a heartfelt tribute to Charlton before kick-off.

‘It’s devastating to be honest with you,’ said the Scotland midfielder. ‘He was an icon at the football club and all over the world. Everyone is going into this game tonight thinking of him.

‘It’s difficult but the game is going ahead and we have to do it for Sir Bobby.’

Bruno Fernandes carried a wreath onto the pitch before a minute’s silence for the victims of the Middle East conflict was extended to Charlton and turned into a minute’s applause from all the fans inside Bramall Lane.

McTominay was good to his word as he fired United in front just before the half hour mark. The move began when Antony’s cross evaded Foderingham and Marcus Rashford retrieved the ball out on the left. It was fed to Fernandes who dinked a pass towards the penalty spot.

Manchester United marked the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton with back-to-back victories

Tributes were out in full force for Charlton, who had a legendary career with Manchester United and England 

Players stood in silence while fans sang. Respects were paid to Charlton with flowers on the pitch and the victims in Israel and Gaza were also remembered

McTominay showed good strength to hold off Oliver Norwood who went sprawling in the box, and there were shades of his first goal against Brentford as waited for the ball to drop before meeting with a volley. It wasn’t the cleanest of connections but that actually helped to wrong-foot Foderingham.

United’s lead didn’t last for more than six minutes, though, as McTominay undid his good work by conceding a needless penalty.

James McAtee crossed from the right and United’s No.39 seemed to move his left arm towards the ball and then try to get it out of the way again. It clearly hit him on the arm and referee Mixhael Oliver pointed to the spot.

VAR official John Brooks had no objections despite having a long look at it, and Oli McBurnie stepped up to smash his penalty off the inside of Andre Onana’s right-hand post.

It was a fair scoreline at the end of a fiercely fought but even first half. The Premier League strugglers made the brighter start and Onana had to make a smart save from McBurnie in the third minute after Gustavo Hamer’s effort deflected to him off Harry Maguire, the former Blade who was once against starting alongside Jonny Evans in central defence.

Onana got a strong hand to keep out Cameron Archer’s 25-yard effort as well and came out to deny the same player before half-time.

United had their moments too, though. A lunging Rasmus Hojlund somehow failed to connect with the ball from a couple of yards out after Rashford guided Antony’s exquisite far-post cross back across goal.

Foderingham thwarted the Dane from close-range in six minutes of added time at the end of the half after Fernandes had clipped the top of the bar with a free kick.

Onana saved from substitute Rhian Brewster after half-time as the home side got off to a quick start again before United took control.

This was no vintage performance from Man United but Erik ten Hag’s men got over the line

The result leaves Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades rooted to the bottom of the table with one point

It should have brought a goal for Rashford but he side-footed wide at the end of a sweeping move.

As we moved past the hour mark, Ten Hag had seen enough and made a triple substitution by sending on Christian Eriksen, Garnacho and Anthony Martial.

Amrabat hit the post from 25 yards but when Dalot was presented with a similar chance from range 13 minutes from time, he didn’t hesitate to go for goal, much to the delight of the United fans camped behind it.

‘There’s only Bobby Charlton’ they sang as the red smoke of a flare drifted up into the night.

Match facts

Sheffield United XI: Foderingham; Bogle, Trusty, Robinson, Thomas; McAtee, Norwood, Souza, Hamer; McBurnie, Archer 

Goal: Oli McBurnie (34′) 

Manchester United XI: Onana, Dalot, Maguire, Evans, Lindelof; Amrabat, McTominay; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund

Goals: Scott McTominay (28′), Diogo Dalot (77′) 


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