Soccer-Fernandes earns unconvincing Man United draw at Bournemouth


Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - April 13, 2024 Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their second goal from the penalty spot Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

BOURNEMOUTH, England (Reuters) -Bruno Fernandes equalised twice to rescue an unconvincing 2-2 draw for Manchester United at Bournemouth on Saturday as they dropped to seventh place in the Premier League table.

The Portuguese came to the rescue after Bournemouth had deservedly led with goals by the in-form Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert and although the visitors pressed for a winner, it would have been undeserved.

United were left relieved as Bournemouth were awarded a penalty in stoppage time when Ryan Christie's run was ended by a foul but a VAR check ruled it was just outside the area.

United, who have now gone four league games without a win, are on 50 points from 32 games, below Newcastle United on goal difference after their 4-0 rout of Tottenham Hotspur.

It was another patchy display by Erik Ten Hag's side who were again guilty of allowing opponents far too many attempts at goal, Bournemouth having 20 to United's eight.

United remained 10 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa who are in the final guaranteed Champions League place and are in danger of missing out on Europe altogether.

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

Twelfth-placed Bournemouth created several early chances and led through Solanke's clinical finish in the 16th minute.

SOLANKE STRIKE

The striker was played into space and made no mistake as he cut in to drill home his 17th league goal of the season -- prompting more discussion about an England call-up for this summer's European Championship.

"I would love to be there, everyone would love to be there, playing for your country in a big tournament," said Solanke, who trails only Ollie Watkins and Erling Haaland in the Premier League scoring charts this season.

"I just need to keep scoring and try and get as many as I can and I can be in with a shout."

Luis Sinisterra was agonisingly close to making it 2-0 while Milos Kerkez had a shot saved by Andre Onana as Bournemouth looked like scoring every time they went forward.

United equalised when Fernandes reacted superbly when a ball bounced up off a Bournemouth defender and he swivelled on the spot to blast a volley past Neto.

But the visitors did not heed their lesson and were undone all too easily minutes later as a ball by Marcos Senesi found Kluivert in space and he drilled a low shot past Onana.

Kerkez the headed against the crossbar as United wobbled and Bournemouth were to regret their failure to kill off the game as Kobbie Mainoo's shot took a deflection and struck Smith's arm for a penalty was awarded.

Fernandes rolled home the spot-kick for his eighth league goal of the season but United still needed a late slice of luck to emerge with a point from another disjointed display.

"When you come into the final stage of the season this is not enough," said Ten Hag, who was spared a damaging defeat by the late VAR intervention.

"The truth is we did not deserve more today. We have to do better, control the game, score goals and not give as many chances away."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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