Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Man United draw 0-0 with Burnley

LACKLUSTER:New acquisition Angel di Maria was not able to give the Red Devils their first win of the season, even though he appeared to earn his keep by creating chances

AP, BURNLEY, England

Manchester United midfielder Angel di Maria, right, vies with Burnley midfielder Dean Marney, left, during their English Premier League match at Turf Moor in Burnley, England, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Angel di Maria’s promising debut failed to inspire lackluster Manchester United to a first win of the season yesterday as Burnley held on for a 0-0 draw in the Premier League.

The Argentine midfielder, signed for a British-record fee of £59.7 million (US$99 million) from Real Madrid on Tuesday, played in central midfield and was one of United’s best players at Turf Moor before being substituted in the 70th minute.

Di Maria set up United’s best two chances of the first half, his raking ball setting up Robin van Persie for a chance that was parried away by goalkeeper Tom Heaton, while Juan Mata slipped as he attempted to convert Di Maria’s cross.

United have just two points from three games under new manager Louis van Gaal despite spending about £130 million this summer. That figure is likely to grow before tomorrow’s transfer deadline, with United announcing hours before the game that it has reached an agreement with Ajax for the signing of versatile Netherlands international Daley Blind.

Sticking with his 3-5-2 formation after Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to third-tier MK Dons in the League Cup, Van Gaal will be happy to see his much-maligned defense keep a first clean sheet, but there was a lack of cutting edge going forward. That despite fielding Di Maria alongside Mata, Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in an exciting-looking forward line.

Burnley earned a first point since promotion from the League Championship and was comfortable for most of the game, although Di Maria stretched them at times.

He displayed a good range of passing — exemplified by that brilliant long ball for Van Persie’s chance in the 15th — and always seemed free in the middle of the pitch. He also showed a good turn of pace to spark attacks, but faded after his impressive start. After flexing his legs following a heavy challenge, he was replaced by Anderson.

Van Persie had a goalbound shot cleared away from near the line in the 59th and the Netherlands striker looked United’s most dangerous forward on a day when Rooney and Mata, who went off with a right hamstring injury, failed to have an influence.

Burnley came close early when David Jones curled a free kick against the crossbar, but the hosts mostly defended after that.

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