Sigurdsson dents United Champions League ambitions

Swansea City’s Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson (2L) celebrates scoring their first goal to equalise 1-1 during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 30, 2017. Oli SCARFF / AFP

A sublime freekick by Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson gained Premier League strugglers Swansea a deserved point in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday, dealing a blow to the latter’s Champions League hopes.

Sigurdsson’s 10th goal of the season but first in 11 matches cancelled out veteran Wayne Rooney’s contentious penalty in time added on in the first-half when Marcus Rashford made the most out of minimal contact with ‘Swans’ goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

The point saw United move level on points with city rivals Manchester City but remained fifth, a place outside the automatic spots for the Champions League, because of a poorer goal difference.

It will be of little consolation to manager Jose Mourinho that it extended their unbeaten run to 25 and have not been defeated at Old Trafford since September 10th last year.

City could open up a three point gap later on Sunday as they take on second from bottom Middlesbrough whilst Arsenal too could gain ground on United if they beat title-chasing Tottenham.

Spurs, though, will be aiming to keep the pressure on table-toppers Chelsea, who have a tricky match at Everton, who are on a streak of eight successive home wins.

For Swansea — who play Everton next up — it inched them to within two points of fourth from bottom Hull with three matches remaining.

Fabianski was harshly adjudged to have brought down Rashford by referee Neil Swarbrick with the United youngster making the most of it in a half Swansea had dominated.

Rooney converted the penalty for his first goal at Old Trafford since May last year and his seventh of the season.

However, it was the English veteran’s foul on Martin Olsson that provided Sigurdsson with the opportunity which he seized brilliantly — helped also by David de Gea urging Ander Herrera to leave the post unguarded and move into the wall to leave Fernando Llorente offside.

Llorente should have added to his team-leading 12 goals this season as the game moved into time added on but with just de Gea to beat instead of heading the ball he tried to sidefoot it home and made a mess of it.


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