Stoke City vs. Manchester United
Date: Saturday, 9 September 2017
Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Manchester United drew 2-2 away at Stoke City in a pulsating encounter in the West Midlands.
Maxim Choupo-Moting opened the scoring only to be cancelled out by Marcus Rashford inside the final five minutes of the first half.
Despite Romelu Lukaku giving Jose Mourinho’s side the lead during the second period, Choupo-Moting headed home his second as an even fixture ended all square.
Goalkeeper Jack Butland’s long ball forward saw Jese race through and drag a shot wide before Choupo-Moting volleyed over for the hosts early on.
Lukaku’s low cross towards Paul Pogba was turned behind by Kurt Zouma before Eric Bailly’s superb through ball was met by the run of Rashford only for Butland to deny the striker with his left boot.
Onto his favoured left foot, Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot was held by David De Gea as Butland’s hand turned away Rashford’s low strike at the other end.
De Gea once more held a Shaqiri effort and Zouma diverted Antonio Valencia’s whipped cross behind his own goal.
The resulting corner eventually led to Nemanja Matic firing over with Valencia’s cross unmet and flashed wide not long later.
On the stroke of half-time, two former Reds combined as Darren Fletcher swept a ball wide to Mame Biram Diouf, and his cross was placed home by Choupo-Moting.
Barely had the home support died down, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s corner was flicked on by Nemanja Matic at the front post, and Pogba’s header touched Rashford on its way in to level proceedings.
There was time for Lukaku to chase down Valencia’s long ball only to fire a shot straight at Butland with the interval then arriving.
Rashford saw a shot blocked after good work from Pogba and the latter’s tame effort was held once the break had passed.
A Stoke counter-attack was broken up by Matteo Darmian who squared it to Mkhitaryan and the timing of the pass played Lukaku onside, and despite the initial shot being saved, the rebound was converted by the Belgian.
Called into action, De Gea produced a wonderful reaction save to turn the ball over his own bar from Jese’s volley only for Choupo-Moting to head home the resulting corner.
Rashford’s fizzed cross was cleared and Pogba’s shot was turned behind in response to Stoke’s leveller.
In an unorthodox position further forward, Valencia’s shot dragged just wide with Choupo-Moting also firing wide after cutting inside.
Another tame attempt by Pogba was held before Lukaku blazed over from close range after substitute Anthony Martial’s superb cross.
Full-time and United preserved their unbeaten start to the new season but lose their 100% record and clean sheet preservation in the process.
In the build up to the corner which led to Stoke’s equaliser, this writer reckons Pogba was fouled by Fletcher which went unseen, but a potentially respectable point is obtained from the Potteries.
Up next is the return of the Champions League as FC Basel are the visitors to Old Trafford this Tuesday.
A 7:45pm kick-off commences European club football’s elite competition at the Theatre of Dreams with the matches arriving thick and fast during September.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Darmian; Herrera (Mata 72), Matic, Pogba; Mkhitaryan (Lingard 84), Lukaku, Rashford (Martial 72).
Subs not used: Romero, Smalling, Blind, Carrick.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Stoke City: Butland; Zouma, Cameron (Martins Indi 46), Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Jese (Berahino 75).
Subs not used: Grant, Tymon, Adam, Ramadan, Crouch.
Manager: Mark Hughes