Cristiano Ronaldo secured the absent Manchester United a barely deserved Premier League draw with Chelsea as Old Trafford saw further protests against the Glazer family.
ith Champions League qualification after defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal, interim boss Ralf Rangnick’s side escaped by a point in a night largely dominated by Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.
Marcos Alonso’s volley was the only wasteful goal Chelsea scored against United’s ramshackle defense and that was nullified two minutes later when starman Ronaldo scored to make it 1-1.
The build-up was dominated by news that Rangnick was considering becoming Austria’s coach and protests against the Glazer family’s ownership of a back-to-back home game.
‘Glazer out’ read a banner above the tunnel before kick-off at Old Trafford, where a mix of saves from David De Gea and poor decision-making meant Chelsea failed to convert their 11 shots into a deserved lead.
Tuchel’s men finally broke the deadlock when Alonso volleyed home in the 60th minute but failed to open the floodgates. Instead, ex-Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic’s clipped ball equalized for Ronaldo.
The towering Reece James hit the post in the closing stages but United somehow ended Chelsea’s club-record streak of eight straight away wins in all competitions on Thursday without eight players.
It was one-way traffic in the first half as James De Gea stabbed his palms from 20 yards before slotting in Timo Werner for a low shot on target.
United managed to avoid conceding in the opening five minutes in a third straight game, but the space Chelsea continued to find was alarming.
Kai Havertz deflected the ball wide after substitute United captain Bruno Fernandes saw a tame header at the other end while Ronaldo hit a hopeful overhead kick-off target.
They were rare forward trips from United as Chelsea found space and created chances all too easily.
De Gea raged over his defense when N’Golo Kante got a shot on target as protesters took to the ground after missing a minute in each of the 17 years the Glazers were in charge.
There was sustained chanting against United’s owners as the team struggled, with Havertz whipping a try into the side netting after Chelsea smashed through the giants’ gaps left by the home side with a quick counterattack.
Next, De Gea fended off the Germany international, who was played through by Kante but failed to defeat the outstretched goalkeeper. Tuchel looked angry on the sidelines.
A wicked James cross narrowly dodged his full-back Alonso at the far post as Chelsea’s attack continued. De Gea fended off Havertz as he stretched for a close-range header.
Somehow United managed to go into half-time with the game still scoreless.
Mason Mount converted a chance for 34 seconds in the second half as Chelsea continued to play with the home side who had Fernandes to thank for coming back and preventing Havertz from freeing Kante.
Werner just failed to find a Mount cross but United’s goal would finally be broken in the 60th minute.
James had time to float over a cross from the right which Havertz flicked at Alonso for a crashing volley at the far post.
But United are a peculiar side and have a relentless big leader.
Sloppy possession allowed Matic to put Ronaldo behind with a clever pass, with the veteran leveling in the 62nd minute before the Stretford End.
Matic and James tangled and De Gea shoved Mount as things heated up between two frustrated teams.
Boos welcomed the introduction of former United striker Romelu Lukaku when he came on with Christian Pulisic to slam the game back for Chelsea.
James came painfully close to putting the visitors back ahead in the 80th minute, but his beautiful left-footed shot hit the post.
Victor Lindelof saw an injury-time header thwarted and the highlight of the closing stages was the introduction of exciting 17-year-old talent Alejandro Garnacho for his United debut.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/ronaldo-to-the-rescue-as-man-united-hit-back-against-chelsea-to-claim-point-41598356.html Ronaldo to the rescue as Man United hit back against Chelsea to take the point