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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Alex Livesey Manchester United striker Robin van Persie
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Van Persie hails deserved United point
The striker’s last-gasp goal earned the hosts a share of the spoils.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE felt a point was the least Manchester United deserved after he secured a dramatic 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

The striker smashed home his third Premier League goal of the season deep into four minutes of second-half stoppage time, during which table-topping Chelsea had Branislav Ivanovic sent off for a second yellow card.

Angel Di Maria’s resulting free-kick led to the equaliser, which cancelled out Didier Drogba’s 53rd-minute opener – the veteran forward marking his first league start since rejoining Chelsea by heading in from a Cesc Fabregas corner.

“Overall we had more chances than them although it’s a fair result – they could have won today, so it’s a mixed feeling,” Van Persie told Sky Sports.

“Of course, if you come back in a game like this where the fact is that we are 1-0 down with one minute to go, that gives us a boost.

“[But] we should have won today. We wanted to win to gain some points [on Chelsea] – it didn’t happen but I’m thinking that in the end we can be happy with a point.”

The result means Chelsea are four points clear of Southampton at the Premier League summit and 10 better off than United after nine games.

But Van Persie, who was twice denied by impressive visiting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois earlier in the contest, refused to rule out a title charge being launched from Old Trafford.

Asked if he thought United could catch their opponents, Van Persie said: “Of course we can. It is still early days. There are only nine games played, it’s not even halfway. So yes.”

United defender Chris Smalling agreed with Van Persie’s assessment that the hosts were more than a match for Jose Mourinho’s men.

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The England international said: “For that whole second half we were pushing, I thought it wasn’t going to be our day.

“But we kept pushing and got our rewards at the end. We came in at half-time thinking we played quite well. The only chances they got were ones we gave to them.

“We couldn’t lose today; we were going for the win and even when we scored that goal we were still going [for the win].

“It just shows that the momentum was with us for pretty much the whole game.”

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