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Match Report: Hull City 2-3 Manchester United
Hull City 2-3 Manchester United – An own goal by former United man James Chester completed the Red Devils’ comeback after Hull took the lead in the opening minutes. Elmohamady played the 90 minutes at the KC Stadium.
Hull City (3-5-2): McGregor – Figueroa – Davies – Bruce – Chester – El Mohamady – Meyler – Huddlestone – Livermore – Graham – Sagbo. Manchester United (4-2-3-1): DeGea – Evra – Evans – Smalling – Rafael – Cleverley – Fletcher – A.Young – Rooney – Valencia – Welbeck.
With United having a great record on Boxing Day fixtures and Hull boasting the best home defensive record in the league, this match had the potential to be a really great game, and it surely didn’t disappoint.
Steve Bruce started with the same line-up that played against West Bromwich, but United had two changes with the inclusion of Ashley Young instead of Januzaj, while David Moyes gave Darren Fletcher his first start since 2 seasons, instead of the injured Phil Jones.
Hull City started the match perfectly with some fast paced attacking football that United’s midfield and defence couldn’t cope with. James Chester had the perfect start with a great strike after Tom Huddlestone’s corner with some help from United’s weak defending. Nine minutes later, United went on with their shambolic defending and Hull scored again through David Meyler after his shot took a deflection from Evans’ leg.
Dream start for Bruce’s men and it really looked like a Merry Christmas for them in the opening 13 minutes. Manchester United were 2 goals down against a side that conceded only 3 goals at home during the season. But after Rafael’s groin injury, he was subsequently substituted by wonder kid Adnan Januzaj who slotted in the right wing role with Valencia occupying the right back position.
That was a huge gamble from David Moyes only after 18 minutes in the match as he looked for a comeback. Adnan proved to be the difference between the sides as just after 1 minute from coming on, he was fouled and Smalling’s header gave United hope after Rooney’s perfect set piece cross.
With Manchester United attacking relentlessly, they managed to score and in fashion in the 26th minute as Wayne Rooney’s amazing belter from outside the box – reminiscent of his old days, equalized for United and brought them closer to a great comeback.
Hull happily gave United possession and defended the draw right until the half time whistle. With the second half starting, Bruce introduced two substitutes with the goalkeeper Harper coming in for McGregor and Koren for Meyler, both due to injuries sustained in the first half. The Tigers had a couple of chances after 10 minutes from the start of the second half with a decent shot from Sagbo saved by De Gea and a close missed header by team captain Curtis Davies.
In the 62nd minuted David Moyes came all guns blazing bringing on Javier Hernandez instead of Darren Fletcher, a huge statement from the manager to silence his conservative way critics. Just one minute later, Alex Bruce hit the bar from a wonderful header following Huddlestone’s perfectly executed corner. That header by Bruce proved to be vital for Hull’s hopes as 3 minutes later James Chester’s headed the ball into his own goal from Ashley Young’s cross.
Steve Bruce attempted to come back into the match in the 73rd with converting into a 4-4-2 with George Boyd coming in for Figueroa and United introducing Michael Carrick instead of Ashley Young to add to their midfield and control the game. Hull City’s long balls proved dangerous against United’s defence especially after Valencia’s silly sending off. James Chester missed two chances in stoppage time after a header that went too high and a saved shot. The Tigers piled up pressure on the United defence as Alex Bruce missed a huge chance in the last seconds of the match from the edge of the box bringing the match to an end.
The Egyptian Focus:
Elmo started his 17th match in the season aa he proves to be an essential part to Bruce’s team with consistent performances providing evidence as to why Steve continues to depend on him. Despite that he wasn’t an attacking threat in today’s match with clear defensive duties to stop United’s left flank. He was successful in doing that with no clear cut chances coming from either Ashley Young or Patrice Evra on the left hand side. He faced Adnan Januzaj for some time after exchanging positions with Young and then Welbeck later on in the game, with neither proving much of a problem.