ASTON VILLA 1, MANCHESTER UNITED 1
Christian Benteke scores early opener for Villa
Radamel Falcao levels matters for United with a second half header
Gabriel Agbonlahor sent off for first time in his career
Villa hold on for a point
A second half goal by Radamel Falcao was not enough to extend Manchester United’s winning run to seven in a row as they were held by Aston Villa at Villa Park.
United manager Louis Van Gaal had given the Colombian striker his first start since the game against Everton on October 5 against the injury-hit Villans and was rewarded with a goal for the Red Devils.
Falcao’s 53rd minute header from Ashley Young’s cross looked like the platform to build on a win after cancelling out Christian Benteke’s 18th minute opener for Villa which the big Belgian slotted into the top corner following a free kick into the area and only his second of the season after making space to shoot past Jonny Evans.
David De Gea was in sparkling form to deny Benteke a second goal from a header while his opposite number in the Villa goal was similarly inspired to keep out Robin Van Persie and Juan Mata before Falcao levelled matters in the second half with a firm header from close range.
United’s task was made easier with a man advantage with 25 minutes to go after Gabriel Agbonlahor was sent off for the first time in his career for a tackle on Young.
It looked harsh decision on repeat viewing as both players committed in full to the 50/50 challenge but Villa had been defending well throughout the game and continued to do so after Agbonlahor’s departure.
Villa might still have won the points with a late chance for substitute Leandro Bacuna while James Wilson tested Guzan from long range but neither side could retake the initiative to take all three points.