Barclays Premier League
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United
Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: Sunday, 6 March 2016
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Manchester United dented their own chances of making the top four, with a first away defeat for over three decades against West Bromwich Albion.
Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half.
From hero-to-zero, Juan Mata’s match-winning free-kick against Watford on Wednesday night seems a long way away, with the midfielder rightly sent off for two bookable offences with barely 20 minutes on the clock.
The visitors began on the front foot, with Anthony Martial seeing a snap shot held by former United goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Plenty of possession but to no avail inviting West Brom back into the game, with Craig Gardner’s headed knockdown from Darren Fletcher’s long ball leading to Chris Smalling producing a vital block on Saido Berahino’s shot.
Having already been booked for needlessly blocking an attempted quick free-kick, Mata swung a boot towards Fletcher, a late challenge that left referee Mike Dean with the option to give the Spaniard his marching orders.
Full-back Craig Dawson volleyed just wide after spotting David De Gea off his line, before Rondon’s knockdown saw Stephane Sessegnon’s effort held, as half-time arrived with the game goalless.
A string of half chances fell United’s way after the break, with Marcus Rashford’s left-footed effort deflecting wide.
Jesse Lingard cut inside onto his favoured right foot and curled an effort onto the roof of the net, with Ander Herrera’s free-kick striking the wall.
Substitute Sebastien Pocognoli’s cross was diverted just wide of the left-hand post by Berahino, but a second cross in a later move from the left-back fell to Rondon, whose touch to control left him with a left foot finish to give the home side the lead.
Despite having essentially 25 minutes to find a way back into the game, United looked devoid of ideas, with the sending off of Mata showing.
All West Brom had to do was sit in with their extra man, and they did so to see out the game.
Yet another unwanted record was broken, with this being West Brom’s first home league over United in 32 years, and first in the Premier League era.
The match itself was lacking in quality, but a Tony Pulis side against this United side, it was to be expected.
Even with 11 men, Louis van Gaal’s side did little to trouble West Brom, and any chance of the top four is looking unlikely, despite the past week of results falling in United’s favour.
Up next is the highly anticipated trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool this Thursday, in the Europa League Round of 16 First Leg, with kick-off commencing at 8:05pm.
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian (Fosu-Mensah 83), Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Herrera (Schneiderlin 62); Lingard, Mata, Martial; Rashford (Memphis 75).
Subs: Romero, Varela, Fosu-Mensah, Schneiderlin, Weir, Fellaini, Memphis.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
West Brom: Foster; Dawson (Pocognoli 55), McAuley, Olsson, Chester; Sessegnon (McClean 68), Yacob, Fletcher, Gardner; Rondon, Berahino (Sandro 88).
Subs: Myhill, Pocognoli, Sandro, McClean, Pritchard, Anichebe, Lambert.
Manager: Tony Pulis