Date: 31st December 2016 at 5:31pm
Written by: Vital Boro

Middlesbrough conceded a couple of late goals following skipper Grant Leadbitter giving them a narrow lead over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The returning Leadbitter drove in low midway through the second period after his opponents had already twice struck the woodwork, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic also saw an effort disallowed.

However, Anthony Martial equalised with just five minutes remaining, and fellow countryman Paul Pogba then immediately headed in from a corner.

The Teessiders handed a debut to Bernardo while George Friend also started in defence following his welcome recovery. Daniel Ayala was similarly back – on the bench.

Adama Traore shot tamely following an early break from the visitors while Merouane Fellaini headed straight at ex-United keeper Victor Valdes.

United went desperately close with Pogba’s overhead coming back off the post from a delivery by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who also twice threatened before Martial crashed a tremendous long-range effort against an upright and Ibrahimovic had a strike disallowed for a high foot.

The Swede was also blocked by Valdes following the interval, with Adam Forshaw replying across goal before the Spanish keeper thwarted Martial.

But it was Boro going in front as Alvaro Negredo knocked down for Leadbitter to drive beyond home keeper David de Gea on 67 minutes.

Another Ibrahimovic attempt was then met by Valdes, who also frustrated Martial after substitute Marcus Rashford had an effort cleared off the line.

However, it was back level when Ibrahimovic helped on a long ball for Martial to finish low past Valdes, who was again beaten moments later as Pogba headed in from substitute Juan Mata.

Manchester United: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling (Rashford 72), Blind (Rojo 64), Fellaini (Mata 64), Herrera, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic, Martial

subs (unused): Jones, Lingard, Romero, Schweinsteiger

Goals: Martial (85), Pogba (86)

Middlesbrough: Valdes, Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Friend, Leadbitter (Clayton 78), Traore (Fabio 82), Forshaw, de Roon, Downing (Ramirez 63), Negredo

subs (unused): Ayala, Rhodes, Guzan, Stuani

Goals: Leadbitter (67)

Ref: L. Mason

Att: 75,314


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