Soccer Football – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain – April 27, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisic in action with Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Manchester United failed to welcome the club’s new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe to Old Trafford with a win as Tottenham twice came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Ratcliffe was in attendance for the first time since agreeing a deal to take a 25 percent stake of the English giants for $1.3 billion.
Goals for United forwards in the Premier League have been in short supply at Old Trafford this season but both Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford struck in the first half, either side of Richarlison’s equaliser.
Rodrigo Bentancur’s strike in the first minute of the second half levelled the scores once more.
A point moves Tottenham level with north London rivals Arsenal, just outside the top four only on goal difference.
But they will be the happier with the draw as they remain eight points ahead of United, who edge up to seventh.
“Outstanding performance given the challenges we had to put a team out,” said Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, who was missing captain Son Heung-min, who is away at the Asian Cup, among five first-team regulars who were absent.
“We’re not here because everything is running our way. We’ve not had an easy year and the only reason we are in the position we are is because the players are willing to put aside adversity.”
– Ratcliffe’s rollercoaster ride –
Ratcliffe declared before kick-off that taking a share in his boyhood club is the most exciting investment he has been involved in.
But the British billionaire, who was sat alongside legendary former United manager Alex Ferguson in the directors’ box, got an early introduction to the rollercoaster ride of owning a football club.
Erik ten Hag’s men desperately needed the three points to reel in Spurs in the race for a place in next season’s Champions League.
And the Red Devils could not have wished for a better start.
Hojlund took 15 games to score a Premier League goal after his £72 million ($92 million) move from Atalanta.
But the Dane now has two in as many appearances in the English top flight as he blasted a loose ball high past Guglielmo Vicario after just three minutes.
Tottenham’s absences forced Postecoglou’s hand in throwing new loan signing Timo Werner straight into his starting line-up.
The German struggled during a previous spell in England with Chelsea, but was unfortunate not to have a debut to remember when his goalbound header was flicked to safety by Jonny Evans.
From the resulting corner, Bentancur’s header was cleared off the line by Diogo Dalot.
United, though, did not learn their lesson from Tottenham’s set-piece threat as Richarlison nodded in another wicked delivery from Pedro Porro to equalise.
Spurs then took control of the game, but still found themselves behind by half-time.
Rashford had not scored at Old Trafford since May, but has shown glimpses of finding his form in recent weeks.
The England international exchanged a one-two with Hojlund then coolly slotted into the far corner.
It was the first time that Rashford and Hojlund have scored in the same game and Ten Hag is hoping their partnership is beginning to flourish.
“I hope they keep going with this progress,” said the Dutchman. “Especially in the frontline, in tight areas, you need the right decision, you need that intuition together.”
Spurs should still have levelled before the break as Werner dragged a good chance on the counter-attack wide before Cristian Romero headed another dangerous corner onto the crossbar.
The visitors had to wait less than a minute after the interval to strike back again as Werner teed up Bentancur to fire past Andre Onana at his near post.
Both sides had chances to win it as Richarlison curled an effort too close to Onana.
But the best opportunity came at the other end when the unmarked Scott McTominay headed over with practically the last touch of the game.