Manchester United wasted a chance to move into the Premier League’s top four after striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw against 10-man Bournemouth on Saturday.
The result left United in sixth position on 49 points while Bournemouth, who had Andrew Surman sent off on the stroke of halftime for charging at Ibrahimovic, stayed 14th with 27 points.
Argentina defender Marcos Rojo fired the home side ahead in the 23rd minute with his first Premier League goal before Joshua King, a Manchester United academy product, levelled against the run of play with a 40th-minute penalty.
Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc shone with a string of excellent saves, denying a below-par Ibrahimovic three times before he parried the Swede’s feeble spot-kick after Adam Smith handled Paul Pogba’s acrobatic cut-back.
It really was a game which had everything, a poor piece of defending by Phil Jones saw him pull down Marc Pugh to concede a penalty which Josh King converted from the spot. But that was only the beginning of the madness.
Ibrahimovic’s decision to dramatically throw Tyrone Mings to the ground in back-play and Mings’ pre-meditated stamp on the Swede’s head led to the game’s most dramatic flashpoint.
From a left-wing cross just before half-time Ibra threw an elbow at Mings’ head, with his clenched fist proof of his desire to pack some power in the direction of the Bournemouth defender’s face.
In the melee which ensued, referee Kevin Friend refused to send off Ibrahimovic for a second yellow card and also left Mings to fight another day but instead red-carded Andrew Surman for his push on Ibra, which was his second bookable offence.
Fast-forward to the second half with Ibrahimovic having a penalty saved by Artur Boruc, Bournemouth throwing men in the path of countless United attacks, Anthony Martial almost gifting Harry Arter an injury-time winner, Paul Pogba falling over himself twice when shaping to shoot and Friend seemingly being shell-shocked every time he had a decision to make, and a chaotic, baffling match for the ages was just about complete.