Manchester United squeaked past Bournemouth 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium today to put one foot in next year’s Champions League after a season-long absence.
Erik ten Hag’s side took advantage of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at home to cement their top-four charge, reinforcing confidence ahead of the upcoming FA Cup final against Manchester City.
Despite a 2-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, United had a point to prove at the Vitality after back-to-back 1-0 losses on the road.
Man United’s form woes were a source of concern ahead of the kick-off, but Casemiro’s breathtaking bicycle kick in the ninth minute settled the visitors’ nerves.
Christian Eriksen chipped the ball over the top, with the Brazilian catching Marcos Senesi’s poor clearance first time with a sublime acrobatic volley to put the Red Devils in front.
However, with nothing but pride left to play for after securing top-flight survival with two games to spare, Bournemouth gave Ten Hag’s team a run for their money on Saturday afternoon.
United took an early lead and looked in cruising control of proceedings in the opening stages, but the Cherries grew into the contest as the game progressed, forcing numerous vital stops from David de Gea.
The Spaniard soaked up the limelight as Man Utd’s headline performer, pulling off a series of outstanding saves to help his side grind out a narrow victory.
Both sides had their chances at the Vitality, but there was a feeling Gary O’Neil’s men were closer to levelling the score than conceding the second, especially in the second half.
With the game approaching its final moments, Bournemouth broke free from their shackles, launching a series of late attacks.
Exploiting the gaps in United’s defence, Kieffer Moore surged forward, but he lacked the necessary composure to overcome De Gea.
The Spanish goalkeeper parried away the substitute’s attempt, denying the home side a potential goal.
Senesi’s half-volley from the edge of the box in the final seconds of the encounter produced the last scare for ten Hag as Man United weathered the storm to post a second straight league triumph.
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