Zaha double hands Man Utd dreadful Premier League start

Referee Martin Atkinson (C) talks to Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (2R) and Manchester United's Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah (R) after Crystal Palace's Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha (background) scored a retaken penalty during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Richard Heathcote / POOL / AFP)

Manchester United’s Premier League season got off to a dreadful start as Wilfried Zaha scored twice against his former club to hand Crystal Palace a 3-1 win at Old Trafford.

On the second weekend of the new campaign, United were playing for the first time after being given an extra week of rest due to their involvement in the latter stages of last season’s Europa League.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lethargic side were well below their best and Palace took full advantage thanks to Andros Townsend’s seventh minute strike and Zaha’s 74th minute penalty against his former club.

There was a hint of controversy about Zaha’s goal as VAR ruled Victor Lindelof had handled Jordan Ayew’s shot even though the ball was hit with force at him from close quarters.

David De Gea saved Ayew’s spot-kick, but VAR intervened again to order a retake as United’s keeper had strayed off his line and this time Zaha converted from the spot.

United’s only major close-season signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench and the former Ajax midfielder reduced the deficit with a debut goal in the 80th minute.

But Zaha, who endured a difficult spell at United before rejoining Palace, showed why the Eagles are so keen to keep him amid speculation over his future as the Ivory Coast winger lashed home in the 85th minute.

For the first time in six years, United were beaten in their opening league game.

It was a chastening start to the season for United, who have come under fire from fans frustrated at their relatively modest transfer outlay compared to their title rivals.

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