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Man Utd 2-0 Everton: Penalty double helps Red Devils edge past Toffees

Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford struck from the spot as sloppy Manchester United rode their luck in an unconvincing 2-0 win against relegation-threatened Everton.

Erik ten Hag’s side stuttered on Saturday lunchtime but managed to end a run of back-to-back Premier League defeats and keep their Champions League qualification quest alive.

United struggled for large periods against out-of-form Everton, who had 23 shots but paid the price for twice shooting themselves in the foot in the first half.

James Tarkowski clumsily brought down Alejandro Garnacho after a bright Toffees start, with captain Fernandes converting the resulting spot-kick in front of the Stretford End.

Sean Dyche’s men settled and continued to threaten, only to be punished by a Rashford penalty after Ben Godfrey fouled lively Argentina international Garnacho.

United continued to offer Everton a way back into the match but they failed to capitalise – something you would not expect Liverpool to struggle with in next weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final.

The Toffees began this topsy-turvy encounter on top, but the sleepy hosts still managed a couple of efforts before taking a 12th minute lead at Old Trafford.

Tarkowski caught Garnacho as he cut back and, after a swift VAR check, Fernandes’ hit a spot-kick just out of Jordan Pickford’s reach into the bottom right-hand corner.

Dwight McNeil volleyed narrowly wide as Everton looked to put that disappointment behind them, with United academy graduate James Garner testing Andre Onana before Amadou Onana mishit the follow-up.

McNeil lasered across the face of goal as Everton continued to prove a nuisance, although that effort came shortly after Pickford stopped Fernandes scoring his second.

The United skipper took aim with a 22 yard free-kick that was heading home in front of the Stretford End until a one-handed stop that drew applause around the ground.

But Pickford can only do so much, and Everton were soon made to rue their missed opportunities.

Godfrey’s clumsy attempt to halt Garnacho drive led referee Simon Hooper to point to the spot, with Rashford stepping up to send his England team-mate the wrong way.

Everton were perhaps fortunate not to concede a third penalty before half-time after Vitalii Mykolenko stopped a Garnacho a cutback with an arm.

United, too, walked a fine line in the closing stages of the first half, with Jonny Evans coughing up possession and McNeil seeing a strike blocked.

Play continued in a similarly open, chaotic pattern after the break.

Abdoulaye Doucoure was denied by Andre Onana at his near post in-between Garnacho lashing narrowly over and just failing to cleanly meet a teasing Fernandes cross.

The United skipper saw a low shot tipped around the post by Pickford, who did well to stop United stabbing home during a melee from the corner that followed.

Andre Onana had to deal with pinball in his own box soon after and United just avoided an Everton goal in the 76th minute.

Godfrey’s header was met by a Lewis Dobbin cross-shot that just evaded fellow substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the far post.

Everton continued to knock at the door and United tried to expose the gaps they were leaving, but neither side had the quality to add to the scoreline.

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