Manchester United’s Premier League top-four hopes were ended after being held to a 1-1 draw by Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday.
Scott McTominay put United in front with an early strike from 16 yards that Jonas Lossl should have done better to keep out, although the Danish goalkeeper made amends with his part in the equaliser.
Lossl’s pass was not dealt with by Luke Shaw and Isaac Mbenza was able to convert to earn the Terriers another famous result against United, who are now winless in six away matches in all competition after seeing Paul Pogba strike the crossbar twice.
United, beaten 2-1 here on their previous league visit, are now four points adrift of the Champions League spots with one game left to play.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were given plenty of space to knock the ball around and it took just eight minutes for McTominay, who profited from some poor goalkeeping from Lossl, to open the scoring.
The hosts came close to finding an equaliser against the run of play when Karlan Grant got between United’s two centre-backs and tested David de Gea with a low shot which the Spanish keeper kept out with his feet.
Normal service was soon resumed as Pogba met Juan Mata’s cross and turned it against the crossbar three minutes before half-time.
But United failed to push on in the second half and they were pegged back on the hour as Lossl launched the ball forward, Shaw failed to cut it out and Mbenza slotted it through the legs of De Gea.
Substitute Tahith Chong was denied by an excellent Lossl save, while De Gea thwarted Grant at the other end, and Pogba again struck the bar to compound United’s frustration.
What does it mean? Thursday night football for United
This draw makes it just two points collected from the last 12 on offer for United, who can no longer catch Chelsea or Tottenham in the final two Champions League qualification spots.
With the other route into Uefa’ss showpiece competition – lifting the cup this season – also no longer an option, Solskjaer’s men will be competing in the Europa League next season for the third time in five seasons.
Lossl redeems himself
At fault for United’s opener, Lossl deserves credit for keeping out the opposition in the remaining 82 minutes. More impressive, though, was his assist for Mbenza’s equaliser, launching the ball up the pitch for his team-mate to convert – the second time a goalkeeper has set up a Premier League goal this term after Ederson did likewise for Manchester City against, of all teams, Huddersfield.
Sanchez fails latest audition
Alexis Sanchez was brought in for his first start since the 3-2 win over Southampton on March 2 and, as was the case in that match, he failed to make any impact. The flop forward was one of just two United outfield starters not to register a shot, along with defender Ashley Young.
Huddersfield conclude their campaign with a trip to Southampton next Sunday, while United host Cardiff City on the final day of the season.
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