Mata Grounds the Eagles
The match that started in silence ended with a roar in the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United hosted Crystal Palace in what was a must-win situation. Having lost to their cross-town enemy and narrowly escaping defeat to Chelsea by salvaging a draw, the Red Devils were desperate for all three points from the south London bottom-dwellers.
They garnered them, but just barely, as the 1-0 result attests.
Still under construction, United showed considerable promise in the first half, but couldn’t back it up with a goal. The only real chance in the first half came from an unlikely source, fullback Luke Shaw, with a tremendous solo run. But overall, it was a sorry showing by Luis van Gaal’s squad. Palace's Frazer Cambell had the best chance of the game, which he skewed 'way above the in-form David de Gea.
So it was left to United's second-half substitute, Juan Mata, to seal the deal, as they collected their first win of any sorts since Sun 5 Oct. The understated Juan Mata ignited a roar of a celebration when he netted home a howitzer from mid-range.
Here's how the Russian media viewed it all:
United ruled the run of play, such as it was. But they got the job done.
And right now, that's enough.