London (AFP) – David de Gea saved a stoppage-time penalty after Jesse Lingard broke West Ham hearts on his return to the club with a late strike in a 2-1 win for Manchester United on Sunday.
The Premier League encounter at the London Stadium appeared to be heading for a draw as the seconds ticked down before the action-packed finale.
But in a bitter blow for West Ham boss David Moyes, who tried to re-sign Lingard after his successful loan spell last season, the substitute curled in what turned out to be the winner in the 89th minute.
There was still time for heart-stopping drama as VAR ruled that United defender Luke Shaw had handled the ball in the area.
Moyes threw on club captain Mark Noble to take the spot-kick but De Gea leapt to his left to keep it out, prompting wild scenes of celebration from the United players when the final whistle blew seconds later.
It was the Spaniard’s first save from a penalty since April 2016, ending a run of 40 successive spot-kicks faced for club and country without a save, including shootouts.
Lingard’s goal was welcome redemption for the England forward, whose woeful back-pass gifted Swiss side Young Boys a 2-1 Champions League win against United in midweek.
“I’m over the moon,” he told Sky Sports. “I had a good time at West Ham but I have to move on and do my best with Man United.
“I have been working hard and to overcome last week wasn’t easy but to get minutes and score was good.”
The result lifts United into second place in the Premier League table, level on points with Liverpool, after four wins in their opening five games.
– Ronaldo strikes –
Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo tapped in to cancel out Said Benrahma’s opener for his fourth goal in three games since his return to United from Juventus.
The Portuguese superstar was jeered and whistled by the home fans as he tried his trademark stepovers and feints but proved a handful throughout.
Both sets of players lined up before kick-off as the stadium observed a minute’s applause for England great Jimmy Greaves, who died on Sunday at the age of 81.
West Ham — without suspended forward Michail Antonio — took the lead in the 30th when Benrahma’s effort from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off Raphael Varane and completely wrong-footed De Gea.
The goal galvanised the visitors and they were level just five minutes later, with Ronaldo poking the ball past Lukasz Fabianski after the goalkeeper had saved his initial shot following a Bruno Fernandes cross.
Both sides pushed forward as the second half wore on but there were few clear-cut openings.
Lingard got a warm reception from the home fans when he came on as substitute alongside Jadon Sancho with 17 minutes to go.
But he left the home fans with a bitter taste in their mouths when he curled a beautiful shot into the top right corner.
Moyes defended his decision to hand penalty duties to Noble, usually rock-solid from the spot.
“We got a penalty kick and I have one of the best penalty takers in the Premier League and Europe,” he told the BBC.
“I think if I hadn’t made the decision I’d have been more annoyed with myself.”
In the other early kick-off, Brighton beat Leicester 2-1 to move up to third in the table ahead of the late kick-off between Tottenham and Chelsea, both former clubs of Greaves.
Neal Maupay scored a first-half penalty and Brighton doubled their lead through Danny Welbeck early in the second half.
Jamie Vardy scored his 150th goal in all competitions for Leicester but it was not enough to rescue a point.
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