Manchester United suffer double setback in chase for Champions League qualification
The first blow came late last night (SGT), when it was confirmed that their arch-rivals, Manchester City, would have their two-year ban from European competitions overturned following a successful appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
City’s last-gasp victory over UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations essentially means that United will now have to finish in the top-four in order to secure Champions League football next season. Had City lost to FFP, then finishing in the top-five would have been good enough for United.
And, while there are no confirmed highlights of City’s win over FFP, we’re guessing it looked something like this.
A few hours later, however, United were handed another setback, as they conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Southampton. A win for United would have seen them go third in the table, leapfrogging both Leicester City and Chelsea in the process.
However, the Red Devils got off to a terrible start against the Saints, as they went behind to a 12th minute goal by Stuart Armstrong.
But this United side is made of sterner stuff than the one we’ve witnessed under Jose Mourinho. Instead of buckling, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rallied and scored two quickfire goals to take the lead.
Marcus Rashford first equalised for United in the 20th minute with this sweetly struck left-footed finish.
Barely three minutes later, Rashford’s strike partner Anthony Martial put United in the lead with this solo strike.
But just when it seemed like United would hold on for the crucial three points, up popped Michael Obefami in
Fergie time the 96th minute to head home a late equaliser for Southampton. Replays showed that Obefami was left free by £80 million (S$140m) signing Harry Maguire, who appeared to be more interested in marking his own team-mate Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
While it was a cruel blow for United, Solskjaer put on a brave face after the match, and insisted that his team were not thinking about Chelsea in the race for top-four.
With three games left to go this season, the race for the top-four is still anyone’s guess. Hold on to your seats, everyone, we're in for a crazy end to the season.