x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ferguson gives Fulham credit as Hangeland goes from zero to hero

Manchester United were denied victory at Fulham by a penalty save and a dramatic late goal from Brede Hangeland in a pulsating 2-2 draw.

Dimitar Berbatov, centre, the Manchester United striker, is tackled by Fulham's Clint Dempsey as the two sides fought out a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.
Dimitar Berbatov, centre, the Manchester United striker, is tackled by Fulham's Clint Dempsey as the two sides fought out a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.

LONDON // Manchester United were denied victory at Fulham by a penalty save and a dramatic late goal from Brede Hangeland in a pulsating 2-2 draw that leaves Chelsea as the only team in the Premier League with six points from two games. Hangeland went from villain to hero as he thundered home a header having scored an own goal to put United 2-1 ahead only five minutes earlier. And Fulham were also indebted to David Stockdale, the young goalkeeper who produced a stunning save from Nani's spot-kick sandwiched between Hangeland's two strikes. It was no more than the home side deserved, however, after a barnstorming game that fizzed with action from start to finish - and even Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, admitted the Cottagers deserved a point.

"When you are ahead with a few minutes to go and get a penalty you think you are home and dry. But you have to give credit to Fulham," he said after a result that leaves United third in the table. Paul Scholes continued his outstanding start to the new campaign by opening the scoring after only 11 minutes with a strike of real technical quality. The midfielder, who was named man of the match for both the Community Shield and the opening-day victory over Newcastle, was 25 yards out when he fired home his 150th goal for United with a perfectly-hit first-time shot.

Dickson Etuhu was then denied by a superb double save from Edwin van der Sar but United, who were playing without Wayne Rooney, their talisman striker who was ruled out with a stomach illness, were eventually pegged back in the second half. Fulham equalised when Damien Duff found the excellent Bobby Zamora on the right and he cut a perfect pass back for Simon Davies to thump home in the 58th minute.

United brought on both Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen in a bid to find a winner and thought they thought they had done it when Giggs's corner hit Hangeland in the 84th minute and went in. Then they won a dubious penalty when Duff cleared the ball on to his own hand - only for Nani to see his effort superbly saved by Stockdale. That set the scene for Hangeland's thunderous header which left Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager, celebrating.

"We're delighted because we showed great character and desire to get back in the game," he said. "I'm delighted with the quality of the goals we scored, it was a fantastic header from Brede to save a point." sports@thenational.ae