Premier League

Fernandes double not enough as Man Utd slip at Bournemouth

Bruno Fernandes takes a penalty t make 2-2 as Manchester United salvaged a draw at Bournemouth on Saturday, April 13, 2024. © Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP):– Manchester United’s chances of Champions League football next season took another battering as Bruno Fernandes’ double could only salvage a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Twice the Cherries led through Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert and Bournemouth were denied the opportunity to win the game at the death after a controversial VAR review overturned the decision to award the home side a penalty.

A point leaves United still 10 adrift of Aston Villa and Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish with six games to go.

The Red Devils have now won just once in their last seven Premier League games to leave Erik ten Hag’s future as United boss next season in doubt.

“We have to win our games and we have dropped too many unnecessary points in the last few games,” said Ten Hag.

“The opponent was struggling because they gave so much energy in the first half and there were so many gaps but we didn’t benefit from it.”

Once again it was United’s defensive deficiencies that were exploited as Bournemouth just missed out on a famous double after winning 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

French teenager Willy Kambwala kept his place at centre-back with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof among those absent due to injury.

But Kambwala had a moment to forget for the opening goal as his slip allowed Solanke to pick his spot and fire home his 19th goal of the season.

United had barely threatened as an attacking force before they levelled against the run of play on 31 minutes.

Alejandro Garnacho’s deflected cross fell perfectly into the path of Fernandes to volley into the roof of the net.

Bournemouth were back in front within five minutes as this time Kluivert took advantage of the acres of space offered by the United defence inside the box to drill low past Andre Onana.

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Ten Hag’s future as United boss becomes more unsure with every passing week and poor performance.

However, the Dutchman was rewarded for a daring change at half-time as he replaced Garnacho with Amad Diallo.

The Ivorian winger shot to fame with an extra-time winner against Liverpool in a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final last month.

And he helped earn the visitors a point as his deflected shot was handled by Adam Smith inside the area.

Fernandes stepped up to slot the resulting penalty past Neto.

Bournemouth thought they had a spot-kick of their own deep into stoppage time when Kambwala blocked Ryan Christie’s charge into the box.

After a penalty was initially awarded, VAR intervened to say the foul had taken place just outside the box.

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“We had chances to finish with a better result. All the refereeing decisions were against us today,” said Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola.

“I can’t understand the decisions. I did not think it was a penalty from Adam Smith. I disagree.”

A point leaves Bournemouth still in 12th, eight points adrift of United in the European places.

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