United held by 10-man Toon


Manchester United missed the chance to close the gap at the top of the Barclays Premier League to two-points after being held to a controversial draw by 10-man Newcastle United.

Javier Hernandez’s fortunate opener looked to have gifted United the win, but after Rio Ferdinand’s foul on Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba tucked away a penalty.

Jonas Gutierrez’s sending off led to the home side piling the pressure on The Magpies, but Alan Pardew’s side held out to retain their top four status.

The Toon frustrated United in the early stages, before a lucky break gave the Premier League champions the lead.

Wayne Rooney’s free-kick hit the wall, but his return volley fell the way of Steven Taylor whose clearance ricocheted off Hernandez and beyond Tim Krul.

Newcastle leveled the scores after the hour mark when Ferdinand was adjudged to have fouled Ben Arfa.

The decision was hotly contested, but Ba stepped up to net his ninth goal of the season.

United thought they’d claimed all three points in stoppage time, but Hernandez’s was given offside after Giggs’ cross.

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