Edinson Cavani ensured the return of fans to Old Trafford was a memorable one as he stole the show with an incredible long-range lob but Manchester United were held 1-1 by relegated Fulham.
A derby victory over Manchester City back in March 2020 was the last time United supporters were permitted inside the stadium for a game before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced all matches behind closed doors after a long stoppage to all competitions.
Ten thousand were allowed inside Old Trafford on Wednesday amid loosening of restrictions in England and, in a game where United were out to clinch second in the Premier League, they were treated to one of the goals of the season from Cavani.
His remarkable lob of Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from 35 yards broke the deadlock and seemingly put United on course for a routine success.
However, United did not take their chances thereafter and were ultimately punished as Joe Bryan’s first Premier League goal secured a share of the spoils for Fulham.
10 – Manchester United have dropped 10 points from winning positions at Old Trafford this season – their highest ever such total at home in a Premier League campaign. Issue.
In the top five in the Premier League in minutes per goal among players with at least five to their name, Cavani had the audacity to attempt a long-range effort beyond the realm of most players.
But the execution on his perfectly weighted chip was exquisite, with former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Areola only able to get a helping hand on the shot as Cavani sent the crowd into raptures in his first game in front of United fans since joining the club.
Bruno Fernandes, United’s player of the year, saw a bending effort kept out by Areola as United dominated, though Fabio Carvalho wasted a golden chance to level as he shot straight at David de Gea having been played through by an inch-perfect pass from Ademola Lookman.
Fernandes surprisingly whipped a free-kick wide from the edge of the area before De Gea had to produce a double save to deny Lookman and Carvalho from a tight angle in quick succession.
Areola prevented the in-form Mason Greenwood from making the game safe and United ultimately paid the price for profligacy as Bryan stole in to head home Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s superb right-wing cross and earn a point Fulham’s second-half performance merited.