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Premier League

  • January 1, 2015
  • • 12:45
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Oliver
  • • Attendance: 27203

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United: Falcao strikes to earn point for visitors

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United: Falcao strikes to earn point for visitors

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The Colombia international levelled things up midway through the first half after Ryan Shawcross struck against his former club to give the Potters the lead early on

Manchester United extended their unbeaten run to 10 Premier League games with a 1-1 draw at Stoke City on New Year's Day.

Radamel Falcao's third United goal earned a share of the spoils from an encounter affected by heavy winds after Ryan Shawcross had given Stoke an early lead at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke headed into the clash having won back-to-back games over the festive period and, despite star man Bojan being unavailable due to a hamstring injury, the feel-good factor remained for the hosts as Shawcross opened the scoring in the second minute.

By Peter O'Rourke

Manchester United missed the chance to put pressure on top two Chelsea and Manchester City after dropping two points against Stoke. However, on the balance of play United might look back on this game as a point well-earned come the end of the season.

They were far from their best in difficult playing conditions at the Britannia Stadium, but like most of their games in their 10-game unbeaten run, they grounded out a result without playing well. For Stoke it has been a good festive period to date with seven points from three games and Mark Hughes can go into 2015 in confident mood that his side will be capable of finishing in the top half of the table.
Louis van Gaal's men came back into the game, however, and went into the break level thanks to Falcao.

The second half did not bring any other goals, although Stoke ended the game having been denied what appeared a clear penalty for a Chris Smalling handball and seen Peter Crouch rattle the woodwork.

Stoke could not have enjoyed a better start as they went in front almost immediately courtesy of their captain.

A well-worked Marko Arnautovic corner to the back post found Crouch, who nodded down for former United man Shawcross to side-foot a volley home.

The visitors came back into the game thereafter, although clear-cut chances were not initially forthcoming.

And they could easily have been further behind when Jonny Evans failed to deal with a long ball, gifting Mame Biram Diouf a golden chance that he somehow curled wide.

Stoke were left to rue that missed opportunity even more in the 26th minute as United equalised.

Again it was a set-piece that proved critical, with Michael Carrick flicking on Wayne Rooney's corner for Falcao to cleverly sweep home despite an awkward bounce.

That continued to look the most likely route for another goal, with typically blustery winds at the Britannia creating issues for both sides.

United began to take control around the hour mark, yet Stoke were unfortunate not to be given a penalty when Smalling handled Crouch's header.

Van Gaal's side almost took full advantage of that let-off when Juan Mata chipped into Robin van Persie, who followed fine chest control by flicking a superb effort with the outside of his foot wide.

They were still vulnerable from set-pieces, however, epitomised by Crouch heading another Arnautovic delivery against the post.

Diouf was next to threaten, seeing his powerful, deflected volley fly wide as United failed to deal with another dangerous corner.

United came on strong towards the end of the game, even if the best chance fell to Stoke when Oussama Assaidi hit straight at David de Gea.

But both sides were left to settle for a point in the Premier League's opening match of 2015.