MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Marcus Rashford scored his 100th goal for Manchester United but it required heroics from David de Gea to secure a 1-0 win against West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.
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The victory moves United up to fifth in the league after Erik ten Hag’s team was pushed to the limit by the visitors.
Rashford’s 38th-minute header saw him arrive at a personal landmark, becoming the first United player to reach a century of goals since all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney.
But this proved to be a day when the team was more reliant on De Gea, who produced three outstanding saves in the second half to resist West Ham’s fightback.
Ten Hag may well look at the opportunities his own players failed to take, with both Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo guilty of wasting chances in either half. But that takes nothing away from De Gea’s performance in a week when reports in Spain claimed he was set to be cut from his country’s World Cup squad.
The ‘keeper denied Michail Antonio, Kurt Zouma and Declan Rice, with virtually the last kick of the match, to secure the three points.
Earlier it had been Lukasz Fabiankski keeping United at bay, blocking Ronaldo’s stinging shot from distance and then getting in the way of a powered header from Rashford during a bright start for the home team.
United found a breakthrough when Rashford capitalized with an almost identical opportunity. On this occasion Christian Eriksen lifted a cross from the right into the six-yard box and Rashford leapt higher than anyone to fire past Fabianski.
United had chances to add to its lead early in the second half, with Ronaldo failing with a header from inside the box and firing two more efforts wide of the target when in sight of goal.
That gave West Ham encouragement and Said Benrahma saw a low shot saved by De Gea, while Lisandro Martinez stole the ball away from Craig Dawson when the defender looked set to score.
De Gea was in action again to tip over Antonio’s 30-yard effort late in the final 10 minutes and produced an even better save to palm away Zouma’s header.
Fred could have made it a much more comfortable finish to the game when heading against the post in the 86th-minute.
That was before a final push from West Ham saw Jarrod Bowen’s injury time effort from close range blocked and then De Gea pulled off one final save to push away Rice’s long-range shot.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.Com/hub/world-cup.
James Robson is at https://twitter.Com/jamesalanrobson.