London, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- Manchester United were on the verge Monday of vaulting over Chelsea into third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Southampton, but the Saints scored in stoppage time to take a point from the match at Old Trafford.
While United extended their unbeaten string to 18 matches, they saw their run of successive victories ended at four and they remain in fifth place, one below the final Champions League spot, with three games left.
The Red Devils have 59 points, the same as Leicester City, who hold fourth place by virtue of better goal difference.
Premier League winners Liverpool and Manchester City are already through to the 2020-2021 Champions League, leaving Chelsea (60 points), Leicester, Man United and Wolverhampton (55) to slug it out for the two remaining slots.
Monday’s contest began badly for the hosts, as Paul Pogba lost the ball to Southampton’s Danny Ings, initiating a sequence that ended with Stuart Armstrong’s goal to put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the 12th minute.
The United reaction was not long in coming. Anthony Martial, knocked to the ground after taking a pass from Pogba, still managed to get the ball to Marcus Rashford for the equalizer in the 20th minute.
Martial gave United the lead just three minutes later.
Rashford and Martial had opportunities to widen the gap, but the England international was thwarted by Saints goalkeeper and the Frenchman sent his shot high over the cross-bar after making a promising run.
Yet United were seemingly in command up until the final minute of regulation, when the Red Devils’ Brandon Williams suffered a serious knock in a collision with opposing player Kyle Walker-Peters that forced play to halt for several minutes.
Williams was unable to continue and coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had already used all three substitution windows, so the home team had to face stoppage time with just 10 men.
Well into the 96th minute, Southampton won a corner. James Ward-Prowse sent the ball into the area and Jan Bednarek flicked it on for Michael Obafemi, who pushed it across the line from close range to level the contest at 2-2.
Solskjaer’s men will end the Premier League season with matches against Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Leicester City.
“It was the worst time to concede a goal, but it happens in football,” the United manager told Sky Sports after the contest. “We have won so many games in that way. It is all part of the learning for this team. You think you have three points in the bag but we probably didn’t deserve three points today.” EFE msg/dr