A wonderful Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick earned Swansea a precious point in their battle for Premier League survival and damaged Manchester United’s push for the top four.
Sigurdsson curled over the wall from about 20 yards to cancel out Wayne Rooney’s penalty and move the Swans to within two points of 17th-placed Hull.
United stay fifth, level on points with Manchester City, who play Middlesbrough on Sunday, and a point behind Liverpool after the same number of games.
The disappointment of the dropped points was compounded by the loss of both Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw to injuries, joining a list that already includes fellow defenders Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo.
But the result was probably fair on Swansea, who had every reason to claim that Marcus Rashford dived for the penalty that Rooney converted.
Super Sigurdsson saves Swans
Swansea were the better side for much of the first half, enjoying the majority of possession as a sluggish United had to rely on David de Gea to make smart saves from Fernando Llorente and Jordan Ayew.
The visitors looked to have been deflated by the controversial penalty on the stroke of half-time, but were rejuvenated by the introduction of Leroy Fer on the hour mark.
They got what they deserved through the brilliance of Sigurdsson and after a bizarre build-up to a central free-kick just outside the United penalty area.
As the Icelander waited, Ander Herrera dropped from the United wall to goalline, only to be waved away by De Gea. Sigurdsson duly placed the ball exactly where Herrera had been standing.
Swansea could even have won it, another free-kick from Sigurdsson not converted by Llorente, who was unmarked inside the six-yard box.
|Swansea City||Hull City|
|Sat, 6 May||Everton (h)||Sunderland (h)|
|Sat, 13 May||Sunderland (a)|
|Sun, 14 May||Crystal Palace (a)|
|Sun, 21 May||West Bromwich Albion (h)||Tottenham (h)|
Another draw hits United hopes
United, playing their ninth game in 30 days, were disorganised at the back and disjointed going forwards in the first half, only threatening through the pace of Anthony Martial.
Rashford was visibly frustrated before his telling contribution. Played through on the left of the six-yard box, he was going to ground before the challenge of Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
After Rooney coolly converted, United improved and could have doubled their lead in the second half – the captain’s goal-bound effort from the edge of the six-yard box struck the back of Martial.
But after Bailly was forced from the field, the home side began to unravel, resulting in Sigurdsson’s equaliser.
Though Antonio Valencia forced Fabianski to save a driven shot, United were left to hang on to their 10th home draw of the season.
That they set a new club record of 25 successive unbeaten games in a single top-flight season will be of no consolation.
Yet more injuries for United
United can also reach the Champions League by winning the Europa League, but their squad looks set to be further stretched before Thursday’s semi-final first leg at Spanish side Celta Vigo.
Left-back Shaw, who has only completed four Premier League games this season, had to be substituted after eight minutes for what appeared to be a lower left leg injury.
United boss Jose Mourinho has previously been critical of the England international and said after the match: “I think Luke Shaw’s must be a big injury, because to leave the pitch after 10 minutes I am expecting a very big injury.”
Bailly then had to be replaced on 60 minutes after injuring his ankle in a challenge with Llorente, prompting Mourinho to begin his own fake warm-up on the touchline.
“At the moment, we can walk from the bed to the toilet and break a leg,” he added.
United were at least boosted by Juan Mata’s return to the bench. The Spanish midfielder was feared to be out for the season after groin surgery.
United travel to Spain for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo. Their next Premier League match is at Arsenal on Sunday.
Of their remaining three games, Swansea face perhaps their sternest test on Saturday, when Everton visit south Wales.
‘We lost players and we lost points’
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: “We lost players and we lost points, so yes today was a bad day.
“We did not look tired and exhausted, we are tired and exhausted. You cannot isolate the performance out of the context.
“This is the ninth match of April, it is not human. We have a squad of 22 that is reduced to 13 or 14 players. The players are very tired.”
Swansea City manager Paul Clement: “My players clearly thought it wasn’t a penalty, and seeing the replay the player [Marcus Rashford] has deceived the referee. It’s clear. There’s no other way to look at it.
“The ref seemed to have some doubts because there was a big delay and I spoke to him afterwards and he said he was only receiving confirmation from his assistants. It was a mistake. He went down way before there was contact.
“It’s still very tight at the bottom. We are just concentrating on doing the best we can. Our form over the past two games has been good, we have to keep this going until the very last game of the season.”
Golden Gylfi – the stats
- Manchester United have set a new club record for the longest unbeaten run within a single top-flight season (25 games, W13 D12).
- Manchester United have reached double figures for home league draws for only the second time in their history (11 in 1980-81).
- Wayne Rooney has had a hand in seven goals in his last seven Premier League appearances against Swansea (three goals, four assists).
- Rooney is the first Manchester United player to score 20 Premier League penalties for the club.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson has been directly involved in 21 of Swansea’s 40 Premier League goals this season (nine goals, 12 assists).
- Sigurdsson has become the first player to score in three consecutive Premier League away appearances at Old Trafford since Sergio Aguero in April 2015.
- The Icelandic midfielder has scored more direct free-kick goals since the start of 2014-15 than any other player (6).