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De Gea blunder costs Man Utd again in Chelsea draw


David de Gea made a third costly goalkeeping error in the space of four games as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to top-four rivals Chelsea last night.

Juan Mata had given United a deserved first-half lead against his former employers in what had been dubbed a “must-win” match for the hosts, but De Gea’s mistake gifted an equaliser to Marcos Alonso as Chelsea boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification.

The result leaves Maurizio Sarri’s side still fourth in the table and two points above fifth-placed Arsenal, whereas United must overhaul a three-point deficit as well as their inferior goal difference during the final two games of the season.

The importance of the game was increased by defeats for Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal earlier in the weekend, and United in particular began like a team who knew their top-four hopes depended on winning.

The hosts created their first big chance after just four minutes when Luke Shaw’s long pass forward beat the entire Chelsea defence to leave Romelu Lukaku through on goal, but the Belgian took too long over his finish and was eventually denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

United would not have to wait long to break the deadlock, though, as Mata marked his 31st birthday with a goal against his former club after a scooped Lukaku pass had released Shaw, who cut the ball back into the middle for Mata to convert.

Chelsea were largely limited to long-range efforts for much of the first half, with Alonso and Jorginho.


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