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Rashford and Martial keep Man United in Champions League hunt

Rashford’s 23rd goal of the season helps United extend their unbeaten run to 19 games.

Rashford: First-half strike set United on course for victory.
Rashford: First-half strike set United on course for victory.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United

MANCHESTER UNITED KEPT the pressure on Leicester and Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw Marcus Rashford open the scoring in first-half stoppage time before Anthony Martial wrapped up the win with 12 minutes left in south London.

The Red Devils are now back level on points with Leicester and a point behind Chelsea before facing the Blues in an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.

Palace pushed the visitors hard and would have been left frustrated after Wilfried Zaha was denied a penalty by the video assistant referee, while Jordan Ayew also had a goal disallowed for offside.

Palace wanted a penalty a minute before half-time when Zaha tangled with Victor Lindelof after a superb run.

Referee Graham Scott waved away appeals while VAR’s Simon Hooper adjudged the Swede to have got a touch on the ball and the host were left even more frustrated when United opened the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time.

Fernandes and Martial combined before the former found Rashford, who coolly cut back to get away from Patrick Van Aanholt and calmly slotted past Vicente Guaita to make it two in two after his strike against Southampton.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic tested De Gea from a free-kick at the end of the half and 10 minutes into the second period the hosts thought they had levelled.

A stray pass from Fernandes allowed the south Londoners to win back possession. Zaha was found on the left and worked a yard of space against former team-mate Aaron Wan-Bissaka and picked out Ayew at the back post.

The Ghanaian slide home to cue celebrations, but they were cut short after VAR decided the forward was offside by the finest of margins.

Rashford missed the chance to make it 2-0 in the 62nd minute when he fired straight at Guaita before Solskjaer introduced Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard.

A second goal was forthcoming in the 78th minute and it went to United as Martial made the three points safe.

Rashford spun away from several opponents by the halfway line and was able to lay a pass into the path of Martial, who drilled into the corner for his 22nd of the season.

Van Aanholt suffered an injury in the aftermath of the goal and had to leave the pitch on a stretcher which forced 11 minutes of stoppage time, but there was no way back for Palace and they suffered a sixth straight defeat.

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At St Mary’s, Danny Ings struck his 20th Premier League goal of the season as Southampton fought back to secure a 1-1 draw which almost certainly guarantees safety for Brighton.

Brighton, who moved six points clear of the relegation zone with only two fixtures remaining, led courtesy of Neal Maupay’s first-half strike.

But in-form Ings calmly rolled home in the 66th minute to deservedly prevent Saints slipping to a club-record 11th home league defeat of a tumultuous campaign.

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