Casemiro received a red card for violent conduct as Manchester United just held on to edge a Premier League win over Crystal Palace.
Manchester United had Casemiro sent off but racked up a sixth consecutive Premier League home win as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scored in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
Palace were on the back foot in Saturday’s game, falling to Fernandes’ typically superb penalty in the opening 10 minutes, before Rashford added a second shortly after the hour mark.
Casemiro was then sent off following a VAR review after putting his hands around Will Hughes’ neck during an altercation between the two sets of players, and Jeffrey Schlupp set up a thrilling finale with a goal 14 minutes from time.
But United held on to move three points behind second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand – while Palace remain 12th, six points clear of the relegation zone.
The visitors were rewarded for a brilliant start in the seventh minute when Fernandes stroked home from the spot after Hughes had handled Rashford’s cross – the decision upheld after an on-pitch review by referee Andre Marriner.
Vicente Guaita kept out efforts from Wout Weghorst and Rashford before the half-hour mark, while Fred fired over from close range as United threatened to double their advantage.
Rashford was moved into the center of United’s attack following the introduction of Alejandro Garnach in place of Weghorst and the move paid off in the 62nd minute when the in-form England international headed home Luke Shaw’s cross from eight yards.
Casemiro’s red mist moment handed the initiative to Palace, who reduced the deficit when Schlupp headed home from a corner, but United still managed to hold on for maximum points.
Manchester United player ratings
GK: David de Gea – 7/10 – Could probably have held some crosses but at least made some important saves down the stretch.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10 – Linked up well with Antony and proved useful on the overlap.
CB: Raphael Varane – 6/10 – Defended with confidence, though was troubled a bit in the second half, particularly after the red card.
CB: Lisandro Martinez – 9/10 – Again the more aggressive of United’s centre-backs, winning pretty much every ground duel he engaged in. Hero of the hour.
LB: Luke Shaw – 7/10 – Shuffled across when United committed further men forward and was a decent outlet himself.
CM: Casemiro – 3/10 – Waltzed his way through another midfield battle before stupidly being sent off and putting his teammates under huge pressure.
CM: Fred – 7/10 – Afforded the licence to roam further forward. Made himself a nuisance without reward, but dug in deep to help the cause with ten men.
RM: Antony – 5/10 – Still lacking in dynamism and trickery but played some neat passes and positioned himself well in attack.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – 8/10 – The heart and soul of United’s possession and attacks. Set the tone with his cool early penalty.
LM: Marcus Rashford – 7/10 – Isolated when out wide but looked like his potent scoring self when moved up front.
CF: Wout Weghorst – 6/10 – Wasn’t always involved but put himself about and was useful when in possession.
Alejandro Garnacho (59′ for Weghorst) – 6/10
Marcel Sabitzer (81′ for Antony) – N/A
Victor Lindelof (87′ for Wan-Bissaka) – N/A
Harry Maguire (87′ for Garnacho) – N/A
Erik ten Hag – 8/10 – United were dominant with 11 men and he made the necessary changes to take the sting out of the game when reduced to ten.
Crystal Palace player ratings
GK: Vicente Guaita – 7/10 – Did all he reasonable could to keep United out.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – 6/10 – Managed to ensure the wingers down his side were relatively quiet.
CB: Chris Richards – 4/10 – Had trouble trying to pin Weghorst and then Rashford down.
CB: Marc Guehi – 5/10 – Caught in possession on a couple of occasions. Partnership with Richards still needs some fine-tuning.
LB: Tyrick Mitchell – 5/10 – Attempted to use his pace to stretch the play and launch counter attacks but to little success.
CM: Cheick Doucoure – 6/10 – Rather overwhelmed by Casemiro and Fred. Grabbed an assist late on.
CM: Will Hughes – 4/10 – Such a daft penalty to give away and gave Palace a mountain to climb.
RM: Jordan Ayew – 4/10 – Easy to forget he was even playing.
AM: Michael Olise – 6/10 – The source of Palace’s smartest attacks, though these were usually set plays.
LM: Jeffrey Schlupp – 7/10 – Showed his ability to carry the ball in stretches but not consistently, though took his goal very well.
CF: Odsonne Edouard – 5/10 – Failed to provide a constant threat.
Albert Sambi Lokonga (73′ for Hughes) – 5/10
Ebere Eze (73′ for Ayew) – 6/10
Naouirou Ahamada (83′ for Doucoure) – N/A
Jean-Philippe Mateta (83′ for Schlupp) – N/A
Patrick Vieira – 5/10 – Palace were ineffective for 70 minutes and their fightback came too late.