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Manchester United ride their luck

JOB DONE: Man United players celebrate at the final whistle against the Hammers

MANCHESTER UNITED kept their new found momentum going with a 2-0 win against West Ham on Bank Holiday Monday.

Goals by Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed the points for the away side who are slowly but surely getting their act together after a an indifferent Autumn spell threatened to derail their ambitions.

The game was to turn dramatically after Hammer Sofiane Feghouli saw red to leave the Hammers still in desperate need of points in order to avoid a relegation scrap.

Key to this game were the substitutions of Manchester United and some poor decisions by the officials.

United started like a team in form, knocking the ball about among themselves early but without causing too much strife to the home backline.

Indeed it was West Ham that looked more threatening and they had an early effort on goal after Feghouli and Cheikhou Kouyate interchanged passes and put the United defence on red alert inside their own penalty area.

Next it was the turn of Manuel Lanzini to attempt to give the home side the lead when his right foot shot forced David de Gea into a right-handed save that earned West Ham a corner.

However, the game was to take a turn for the worst for the Hammers. On 15 minutes Feghouli lunged into a tackle with United centre-half Phil Jones, just outside the away penalty area, leaving the defender in a crumpled heap.

Referee Mike Dean, never too far a way from a dismissal, took his time before brandishing a red card much to the obvious chagrin of the home support.

West Ham, even at a disadvantage, still looked lively with Kouyate and Lanzini in the thick of things.

Without being at their best Man United carved out two decent opportunities. The first fell, literally, to the feet of right-back Antonio Valencia who received a pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan but from three yards out and the goal at his mercy, the United defender was foiled by a strong hand by Hammers' keeper Darren Randolph and the ball failed to inch entirely over the goal line. Ibrahimovic, through on goal, failed to put his aside moments later as the hosts rode their luck.

But while they have made a shabby start to the first half of the 2016-17 campaign, West Ham were showing fighting qualities in front of their demanding support. Lanzini, as he had done at the start of the match, tested De Gea again and like the previous occasion the 'keeper was the equal of the shot on target, again pushing the ball away for a corner.

Mourinho's brought on Mata at the start of the second period and Marcus Rashford later on and the changes were to give United the edge.

But even before the pair could truly influence proceedings, West Ham had their big chance but Michail Antonio, when bearing down on the United goal, was denied by the legs of De Gea. It was the crucial moment in the match.

Just past the half an hour mark Mata, after Rashford's magical work down the left saw him beating defenders at will before firing in an inviting ball, stroked the ball home with his left foot. Paul Pogba had a couple of decent chances to seal the game for the visitors but could not land the telling blow.

That was delivered by Ibrahimovic but just how the goal was allowed to stand - with at least two United players appearing to be in offside positions - was beyond most of the home faithful.

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