Man Utd CL bid hurt

July 14, 2020
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial spreads himself on the turf during the English Premier League match against Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, yesterday.
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial spreads himself on the turf during the English Premier League match against Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, yesterday.

MANCHESTER, England (AP):

A ruling in a Swiss court and the concession of a late, late goal ensured the UEFA Champions League (CL) qualification places remain tantalisingly out of reach for Manchester United in the English Premier League.

United missed a chance to climb back into the top four of the league for the first time since September when Southampton substitute Michael Obafemi scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford yesterday.

It was the latest twist in a turbulent race for CL qualification, coming on the day second-place Manchester City overturned their two-year ban from European competition at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

That means a finish in the top four is required to get into next season's CL, rather than in the top five.

Obafemi's dramatic close-range strike at a corner kept United in fifth place, behind Leicester only on goal difference with three games remaining. Chelsea are one point ahead of them in third place.

Those three teams are realistically fighting for two CL qualification spots behind Liverpool, the champions, and City. On the final day of the season, Leicester host United at King Power Stadium in what could be a highly lucrative, winner-takes-all match.

"You just have to be strong and take it," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of the gut-punch that denied his team a fifth straight victory. "Because we have won so many games like that ourselves.

"We probably didn't deserve three points today."

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