Manchester United have been hit so hard with injuries that it seemed they would need to do something extra special to eke out a win over Swansea on Sunday.
But a terrible dive from Marcus Rashford may not be what anyone had in mind. The striker charged into the box just before halftime, and when goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski came out to shut space down, Rashford flung himself into the air:
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That was a cynical display if there ever was one, but it worked: Manchester United were awarded a penalty kick and earned the game’s first goal. Referee Neil Swarbrick will cringe when he rewatches that one.
Sometimes there’s no justice in soccer and it wouldn’t have been particularly scandalous if the 1-0 score in Man United’s favor stood. But Gylfi Sigurdsson had something to say about it, and he snatched a point back from this match in gorgeous fashion:
Free kicks don’t get much better than that — the way the strike bends around the wall is a delight to watch. Ander Herrera, who ran toward the near post before re-joining the wall, seemed to have a premonition about where the ball was going. But he thought better of eliminating Manchester United’s offside trap and Sigurdsson placed the ball exactly where Herrera had been.
In the end, both sides settled for a 1-1 draw in a match that perfectly captured what is ugly and what is beautiful about the sport. Call it a tale of two goals, call it justice served — either way, both sides will take the point and move on.