Manchester United failed to capitalise on an incredible Edinson Cavani strike as relegated Fulham hit back to earn a 1-1 Premier League draw at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.
United took the lead in stunning fashion thanks to Cavani’s 40-yard lobbed finish, but the visitors hit back in the second-half thanks to Joe Bryan’s header.
Another slip-up at home meant United failed to secure a second-placed finish ahead of Chelsea’s home clash with Leicester.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes for the clash, with Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and David De Gea all starting. Eric Bailly, Marcus Rashford and Dean Henderson dropped to the bench.
Fulham made four alterations at Old Trafford, where Tim Ream, Joe Bryan, Mario Lemina and Ademola Lookman coming in.
United started the game on the front forward and they were rewarded for their impressive start with a stunning strike from Cavani in the 15th minute.
There was some VAR controversy involved, however, after Bruno Fernandes released the striker with a clever flick. And from fully 40 yards out, Cavani then sent a drilled, lobbed finish over Areola after spotting the Cottagers stopper off his line.
The striker had initially been in an offside position from De Gea’s ball forward, but Fernandes was adjudged to have touched the ball to put him onside again. Replays failed to show a definitive touch from the Portuguese though.
Despite that, it was a moment of pure class from the frontman that sent the returning Old Trafford fans into rapture.
Fulham should have been level leading up to the break after Ademola Lookman slipped a precise through-ball in behind Victor Lindelof for Ivan Cavaleiro. But the attacker sidefooted a tame effort into the grasp of David de Gea.
Bruno Fernandes tested Alphonse Areola with a long-range strike as United continued to push for another, but they had to settle for a one-goal lead at half-time.
Fulham still providing a threat
Fernandes sent a 25-yard free-kick curling inches wide at the start of the second period.
The visitors were still providing a threat on the United goal, however, and almost levelled on the hour mark.
Lookman broke clear in the area but slipped and mishit his cross which De Gea tipped onto the crossbar before diving on the rebound.
There was a scare for United ahead of the Europa League final when Scott McTominay limped off to be replaced by Rashford.
Greenwood should have wrapped up the win with 17 minutes to go when he raced through on goal, but Areola stood up well to deny him.
But Fulham stunned Old Trafford moments later with a well-worked equaliser from Bryan.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid, who was marginally onside, produced an excellent cross to the far post which was met by the head of the Cottagers wing-back, with De Gea given no chance.
United huffed and puffed in their bid to find a late winner but were left frustrated as Fulham comfortably held out for a point.