PREM: Stoke 1-1 Man Utd


Rooney curls home a late free-kick to break Stoke hearts

Wayne Rooney's record-breaking free-kick in injury time earned Manchester United a 1-1 draw at Stoke on Saturday.


Substitute Rooney hit a fine effort into the top corner from the edge of the box in the 94th minute, his 250th Manchester United goal, to break Sir Bobby Charlton's long-standing goalscoring record.

Stoke had taken the lead in the first half through Juan Mata's unfortunate own goal after Erik Pieters' cross from the left byline deflected off his foot, before Mata missed a fine opportunity from six yards at the other end. United relentlessly pressed in the second half, hitting the bar through Jesse Lingard and going close on several other occasions, before Rooney stepped up to slot home a superb free-kick.

The 31-year-old hit his 250th goal in 546 games having joined United from Everton in 2004, having played 212 games fewer than Charlton's total. The result means United are now unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions and sit sixth, while Stoke are in ninth.
 
United made four changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Liverpool last weekend, reintroducing Chris Smalling, Marouane Fellaini, Mata and Daley Blind, while Stoke were unchanged. The hosts, who had won their last two Premier League games, started the faster of the two sides, and were ahead on 19 minutes after a frantic opening.

After Peter Crouch had dragged Smalling out of position, Joe Allen slipped in Marko Arnautovic, who then played Pieters down the byline, before the left-back's centre deflected off Mata and wrong-footed David De Gea at his near post. Stoke continued to frustrate United for the first half-hour, but Jose Mourinho's side began creating chances as the half wore on.

Mata's afternoon turned from bad to worse as he missed a clear opportunity at the far post with the goal gaping following some unselfish play by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had got in-behind the Stoke defence> Henrikh Mkhitaryan then played in Ibrahimovic on the left of the area, but again the Swede chose to centre when shooting may have been the better option, allowing Bruno Martins Indi to block.
 
Pogba stung the hands of Lee Grant in the Stoke goal with a volley from Blind's corner, and United would have been disappointed to hear Mark Clattenburg's half-time whistle. But they picked up where they left off in the second half, having the majority of possession in the Stoke half, but without creating chances until the final 15 minutes.

They did have a penalty appeal turned down, with Mark Clattenburg waving play on as the ball bounced up onto Pieters' hand from Mata's touch. Rooney, who had been brought on with just over 20 minutes remaining, saw his cross fall to fellow sub Marcus Rashford, who guided an effort inches high and wide of Grant's goal.

Rooney then miscued a header wide after Jesse Lingard's flick-on in the box, while Lingard then hit the bar with a fierce effort from 20 yards, before United finally got their leveller in the fourth minute of stoppage time. After Allen had tripped Rashford on the corner of the box to the left, Rooney stepped up and found the top right corner as the players in the penalty area expected a cross.


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