United’s Champions League hopes end with draw v Huddersfield
HUDDERSFIELD, England (AP) — Manchester United’s hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League ended with a 1-1 draw at already relegated Huddersfield on Sunday, removing the chance of Champions League soccer next season and completing a disappointing end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
United needed a win in its penultimate league game to keep alive its chances of catching fourth-place Tottenham but allowed Isaac Mbenza to run clear through on goal on a lightning counterattack in the 60th minute and equalize with a shot between the legs of goalkeeper David De Gea.
Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford then wasted good chances for a winner by missing the target while Paul Pogba hit the crossbar with a late effort, meaning United will have to settle for Europa League football next season.
Scott McTominay had given United an early lead with a shot that somehow slipped past goalkeeper Jonas Lossl in the eighth minute, but Huddersfield — which is dead last in the table and had nothing play for — gradually grew into the game after that. And Lossl made amends when he collected a cross on the hour mark and quickly booted the ball up the pitch for Ibenza to run onto. Luke Shaw completely failed to deal with the ball and Mbenza was allowed to come all alone with De Gea to slot in the equalizer.
Ibenza celebrated by kicking the corner flag so hard it broke, and play was then held up for about five minutes while stadium officials looked for a replacement.
For United, the equalizer came after the kind of defensive breakdown that has come to typify the side in recent weeks. Solskjaer’s team has just one win in its last eight games in all competitions and is on a four-match winless streak in the league.