Manchester United extended their Premier League unbeaten run to 17 games but could only muster a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in Saturday’s early kick-off.
However, the real story of the match was the tit-for-tat slap-fest between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings which comprised of several nasty little flare-ups.
The duel ignited towards the end of the first half when Zlatan threw Mings to the floor in an off-the-ball incident which was only caught by a television replay…
Zlatan really does do what he wants. pic.twitter.com/OP4CJIaWz3
— Ball Street (@BallStreet) March 4, 2017
Both players were visibly warned by referee Kevin Friend, but neither were formally cautioned.
The pair then tangled again, more violently this time, when Mings trod on Zlatan’s head after the United striker had tumbled to the ground.
Zlatan promptly retaliated by thwacking an elbow across Mings’ chops as the pair tussled under the resultant corner kick…
For what it’s worth, Mings denied deliberately stamping on Ibrahimovic when speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle.
Not at all. I would never do that. That’s not in my game. Hard and fair is how I like to tackle but off the ball stuff like that isn’t in my game.
He [Ibrahimovic] is who he is, he’s a good player, he’s a physical player. I knew what sort of battle I was going to be in for coming here. And that’s what we had all day, it was a battle.
There was maybe an elbow when the ball came in after, I didn’t see it, I felt it. But what happened after that with Surman getting sent off, I didn’t see it.
Not entirely sure we believe him, but hey ho.
The Swede was subsequently booked amid the ensuing squabble, as was Bournemouth midfielder Andrew Surman, who was (eventually) shown a second yellow card for shoving Ibrahimovic to the ground.
Karma then waded into the fray to provide the Cherries a reprieve when Ibra saw a 71st-minute penalty repelled by Artur Boruc, who put in a ‘Man of the Match’ shift betwixt the sticks…
Bournemouth, who were nearly without manager Eddie Howe in the dugout due to illness, hung on to register their first point in five matches.
United moved level on points with Liverpool in fifth, who face Arsenal in the late match.