Crystal Palace 1, Manchester United 2
A late Marouane Fellaini header ended a three match losing streak and moved Manchester United to within one win of securing Champions League football again next season but they lost Luke Shaw and Wayne Rooney to early injury.
The Reds could even be celebrating a return to European football’s top table as soon as tomorrow if Liverpool fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Indeed, the Merseysiders will need to win games at Chelsea and Stoke and a home game against Crystal Palace to stand any chance of pipping United into 4th place and entry into the final qualifying round before the group phase.
On the other hand just one victory, at home to Arsenal, or away at Hull City, will do for United. And with a vastly superior goal difference, a pair of draws should even do the trick.
Ashley Young, one of United’s star players this season, was involved in both goals for the travelling Reds.
Scott Dann was penalised after his cross hit his arm in the penalty area, with Juan Mata putting the Reds in front from the spot, while another cross by Young was headed into an empty net by the big Belgian Fellaini with 12 minutes to go.
Chances were more forthcoming for the Eagles during the second half.
Jason Puncheon levelled in the 57th minute with a free kick that took a deflection off Daley Blind’s head which deceived David De Gea in the United goal.
De Gea has been another of United’s highlights of the season and he was again responsible for keeping Palace at bay with a string of saves, notably a point blank chance by Glenn Murray, as the Eagles applied late pressure.
Young could have scored a vital winner for the Reds but his shot was deflected past the back post by Dann.
United got their win, though, when Fellaini popped up with his seventh United goal, all scored this season, while Ander Herrera was denied a late goal with an acrobatic save by Julian Speroni.