Hull City 2-3 Manchester United
David Moyes’ Manchester United certainly heeded the call from the away end to ‘play like Fergie’s boys’ in this one, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to gain a hard-earned win away to Steve Bruce’s spirited Hull side in a manner reminiscent of so many United teams of the past. Former Red James Chester got on the scoresheet for both sides in an entertaining, if often nerve-shredding Boxing Day encounter.
United went two goals behind after only thirteen minutes before clawing themselves back into the game. There will be concerns raised regarding how easily Hull were allowed to establish their lead: first, a routine corner wasn’t dealt with and former Reds reserve James Chester pounced on Bruce’s initial header to fire into the roof of the net. The corner should never have been awarded in the first place, but there was no misfortune about the second goal, which came via an own goal from Jonny Evans as the ball came back to the defender following his initial failure to clear and he sliced the ball passed a flailing De Gea.
When Rafael was forced off with a groin injury, it appeared the afternoon might prove to be a constant stream bad news for United, but the substitution that resulted changed the direction of the game. Valencia dropped back to fill in and Januzaj came on, not for the first time to constructive effect, and it was a foul on the young Belgian that brought United’s first goal.Rooney’s delivery on the free kick was excellent and Chris Smalling rose to direct his header well beyond the reach of McGregor in the Hull goal.
Rooney himself, who was once again magnificent throughout, provided the equalizer with a superb strike from twenty yards.
Januzaj had provided an additional threat on the flanks, but Hull moved to counter the threat in the second half and were the first to threaten a goal after the break when Bruce’s header from a corner rattled the United bar. However, it was United who took the lead after 65 minutes when Young found himself free on the right following an error by the hapless Figueroa. When he crossed dangerously for Rooney, Chester got to the ball first but only succeeded in heading the ball into his own net.
That wasn’t an end to the proceedings, however, and United wasted a number of promising attacks before being forced to survive a late onslaught from Hull. First, De Gea caused chaos in his own box when he came out to a ball he failed to punch away decisively and, as we moved into stoppage time, Antonia Valencia picked up a second yellow after needlessly kicking the ball away. De Gea redeemed himself with an excellent point-blank save from Danny Graham to preserve the Reds’ lead and secure the win.
GIFs sourced from Manchester United GIFs