Handball controversy proves pivotal as Chelsea, Man Utd share spoils

Date published: Sunday 28th February 2021 6:22 - Steve Pearson


Chelsea and Man Utd were made to settle for a point apiece in a contest that hinged on a controversial early denial of a penalty.

Chelsea started the brighter of the two sides, but it was Man Utd who were almost the recipient of a penalty after VAR’s first major involvement in the match.

Edouard Mendy punched a Marcus Rashford free-kick back into play. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood tussled for the ball, with replays appearing to suggest the ball had struck the Blues man’s hand while in an unnatural position.

The referee consulted his pitch side monitor but stuck with his original decision to deny Man Utd a spot kick.

Hudson-Odoi continued to look dangerous marauding down the right and was causing havoc in the Man Utd area with early service into Olivier Giroud.

There was a concerning moment for both sides after the half-hour mark when Giroud and Rashford both collided with inanimate objects in full flow.

Giroud clattered the post after narrowly failing to make contact with a diving header, while Rashford took a tumble over the advertising hoardings at the other end.

Both players soldiered on, but despite a bright start, the half failed to produce a goal.

Chelsea almost broke the deadlock soon after the interval after a brilliant raid down the left from Ben Chilwell.

David De Gea produced an outstanding reaction save to deny Hakim Ziyech’s first-time shot. The rebound fell to half-time substitute Reece James but his shot too was repelled by a Man Utd defender.

Quick feet from Greenwood hen carved out a yard of space after wrong-footing Andreas Christensen.

The young forward unleashed a powerful strike but his radar was off as it flew agonisingly wide by a yard.

Man Utd were finally in the ascendancy and forced Mendy into a fine stop at his near post from Scott McTominay.

As quickly as momentum had been gained, however, it was swiftly lost as Mason Mount embarked on a run from deep within his own half all the way into the opposition penalty area.

The England midfielder chopped back inside at the final moment but saw his effort blocked to ensure the stalemate persisted.

Nether side were content to settle for a draw. As such, both managers shuffled their deck and introduced an array of attacking talent including Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Anthony Martial from the bench.

Despite their best efforts, neither side could forge a winning goal as Chelsea and Man Utd were made to settle for a hotly-contested 0-0 draw.


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