Manchester United were held to a 1-1 home draw by relegated Fulham in their penultimate Premier League match of the season after visiting defender Joe Bryan cancelled out a stunning Edinson Cavani opener on Tuesday.
Cavani netted with a sublime lob from 40 metres in the 15th minute to delight 10,000 home fans at Old Trafford who returned to the stadium for the first time in 14 months as the British government eased COVID-19 lockdown measures.
But United wasted a string of chances to add to their tally and were punished in the 76th minute as Bryan got on the end of Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s cross and headed it past goalkeeper David De Gea at the far post.
Bruno Fernandes went close for United three times with long-range efforts after Cavani netted while Ademola Lookman and Fabio Carvalho missed gilt-edged chances at the other end before Bryan struck against the run of play.
The result left United second on 71 points from 37 games ahead of their final league match of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, having stretched their winless run to three games.
Fulham, who are at home to Newcastle United in their final match, stayed 18th on 28 points as they picked up only their second point in the last nine league games.
In the night’s other early game Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford and Tyler Roberts scored late on to spoil the party for Southampton fans as the visitors claimed a 2-0 victory in the Premier League match played in front of 8,000 supporters.
The Saints fans marched back into St Mary’s Stadium full of enthusiasm after relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, creating an atmosphere more akin to the opening day of the season rather than the last home game of the campaign for their side.
But after a poor first half from Leeds, Bamford broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when he beat the offside trap from Rodrigo’s pass and steered the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Leeds scored their second in added time as their quick break caught Southampton without numbers in defence and Roberts scored his first goal of the season.
Leeds climb to eighth place on 56 points from 37 games and have ensured a top-half finish on their return to the Premier League, while Southampton stay in 14th with 43 points.
Saints’ James Ward-Prowse struck the frame of the goal with a wicked, dipping 30-yard free-kick early in the second half before Leeds’ first shot on target from Raphinha forced an excellent fingertip save from McCarthy.
Bamford should have put the Yorkshire side in front when he ghosted in behind the home defence and was left with McCarthy to beat, but the keeper forced him wide. The striker made up for that error with his opener, his 16th league goal of the season.