BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Manchester United could only draw 1-1 at struggling West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, leaving them second in the Premier League but seven points adrift of Manchester City.
West Brom, who need a remarkable turnaround to avoid relegation, stunned their visitors with a second-minute goal from on-loan Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne who beat defender Victor Lindelof to head home.
United looked out-of-sorts for the rest of the half, but their inspirational Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes stepped up yet again in the 44th minute with a spectacular volley from near the penalty spot.
In an exciting second half, the Manchester club had a penalty appeal turned down after captain Harry Maguire – trying to driving the team forward – was manhandled in the box.
West Brom survived waves of attacks including a Maguire header on to the post in the last minute. But the hosts also caused scares on the break, Diagne twice going close with only David de Gea to beat in the United goal.
The result left West Brom second bottom of the table, 12 points from safety, with manager Sam Allardyce so far failing to ignite their season despite his reputation for great escapes.
League leaders Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Saturday to reach 53 points and have a game in hand over Manchester United and third-placed Leicester, both on 46.