Nov 3 (Reuters) - Manchester United substitute Marcus Rashford scored a stoppage-time winner as they came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 away and close the gap on the top four in an exciting Premier League clash on Saturday.
Callum Wilson had fired Bournemouth ahead in the 11th minute but they were on the back foot after in-form Anthony Martial netted his fifth goal in the last four games in the 35th and Rashford completed the comeback from close range late on.
United are in provisional seventh spot on 20 points from 11 games, two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal who host second-placed Liverpool in the day’s standout fixture at 1730 GMT.
Bournemouth are sixth ahead of United on goal difference after their first home league defeat since April, when they lost 2-0 to United in the closing stages of last season’s campaign.
United manager Jose Mourinho was delighted with the outcome but furious with his team’s poor defending in the opening stages when they were fortunate to be only a goal down.
“The first half was a disaster,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “The second half was much better. We created lots of chances and deserved to score before the 92nd minute.
“We were defensively awful. I think a few mistakes create instability. I love the song, ‘attack, attack, attack’ but you need to have stability when you lose the ball.”
With United’s defence looking all at sea in the opening 10 minutes, Bournemouth missed three gilt-edged chances before Wilson fired the Cherries ahead with a simple tap-in following an inch-perfect low cross from the right by Junior Stanislas.
Martial levelled with a powerful left-foot shot from 11 metres, after good work by Ashley Young and Alexis Sanchez, the French forward scoring in four successive top-flight games for the first time in his career.
With United’s Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku left out of the matchday squad, Martial stepped up to torment his markers in the second half as United piled on the pressure after Ander Herrera and Rashford came on for Juan Mata and Brazil midfielder Fred.
Home keeper Asmir Begovic denied Luke Shaw shortly after the break and late substitute Jesse Lingard in the 89th minute, with Bournemouth also twice clearing off the line after Young’s free kick came off the woodwork and caused a goalmouth scramble.
Just when it seemed the home side would hang on, Rashford popped up in the six-yard box to chest down Paul Pogba’s cross and tuck the ball past Begovic, prompting wild celebrations among his team mates although a muted reaction from Mourinho.
“I said at halftime I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League,” said Mourinho who added that he thought Bournemouth should have been 5-2 or 6-2 ahead by then.
“I said it is impossible to play worse than we did so the second half will be better for sure. I really can’t understand the kind of mentality that brings me more white hair!”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris