REUTERS – LONDON: Late goals by Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood sealed Manchester United a 3-1 comeback win against Tottenham Hotspur, cementing their place in the Premier League top-four and leaving the London club’s hopes of joining them looking slim on Sunday (Apr 11).
Cavani had a goal controversially ruled out in an otherwise dull first half shortly before Son Heung-min gave Tottenham a 40th-minute lead with their first shot on target.
The second half was far more lively with United dominant.
Fred equalised from close range just before the hour-mark and Cavani then made up for his first-half frustration by diving to head home in the 79th minute.
The closest Tottenham came to an equaliser was when Cavani headed an attempted clearance against his own post.
But substitute Greenwood made sure of the win when he fired past Hugo Lloris with almost the final kick.
Second-placed United’s win allowed them to cut runaway leaders Manchester City’s lead to 11 points having played one game fewer, although perhaps more importantly they are nine points above fifth-placed Chelsea.
Tottenham stay in seventh spot, six points behind fourth-placed West Ham United.
It was a result that said much about the two teams.
While a resilient United are now unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League away games, only four short of Arsenal’s record, Tottenham have now dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.
It was also sweet revenge for United who were beaten 6-1 at home by Tottenham at the start of the season.
“We owed Tottenham a proper game – we had that in our minds – and today was much better than last time,” United midfielder Scott McTominay said.
The opening half an hour was turgid but things livened up considerably in the 34th minute when United opened up Tottenham’s defence with Cavani shooting past Hugo Lloris after being played in by Paul Pogba.
United’s celebrations were cut short though as referee Chris Kavanagh was instructed by the VAR to check a monitor to see whether McTominay had caught Son in the face with his arm in the build-up. It had looked accidental but Kavanagh thought otherwise, much to the frustration of United’s players.
“The game has gone. Game has absolutely gone,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of the decision.
To rub salt into United’s wounds, Son opened the scoring shortly afterwards following a long spell of Tottenham possession which ended with Harry Kane playing in Lucas Moura whose pass was turned past Dean Henderson by the South Korean.
Solskjaer said the injustice they felt “kick-started” his team and they were much better after the break with Lloris denying Bruno Fernandes with a fine low save and Pogba close to back-heeling an equaliser.
The pressure finally told though when United again opened up Tottenham’s defence and while Lloris did well to save Cavani’s effort the ball fell for Fred to ram in the equaliser.
Son forced a decent save from Henderson as Tottenham responded but United looked the stronger side and Greenwood, who replaced Marcus Rashford in the 72nd minute, picked out Cavani to head his side into the lead.
Greenwood then rounded off a bright cameo performance with his side’s third.