2021-22 English Premier League

Manchester United rue missed chances in draw to Watford

Manchester United were left to regret a multitude of missed chances as they were held to a 0-0 draw to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

United enjoyed a couple of glorious early attacks at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo almost netted on five minutes as he saw his effort hit the woodwork. Bruno Fernandes looked set to score minutes later when midweek hero Anthony Elanga, who scored an equaliser as United drew 1-1 at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, set him through on goal, but the midfielder could not beat onrushing goalkeeper Ben Foster.

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Ralf Rangnick's side continued to dominate in the second half, and they were denied a penalty on 58 minutes when Ronaldo went down in the penalty box after a challenge from behind from Watford's Hassane Kamara. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) checked the decision but ordered a corner.

United were booed off the field at the end of the draw against relegation-threatened Watford having failed to find a way past visiting goalkeeper Foster.

"We did everything apart from score. It's hard to take that result," Rangnick told BBC's Match of the Day.

"In the end, if you miss that many chances it is difficult to win the game. We were in full control for almost the whole game, we didn't allow them hardly any counter attacks.

"We need to be sharper in front of goal, you can hardly create more chances than we did today. In the end it is a very frustrating afternoon.

United remain in fourth place in the Premier League, although they sit just two points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal, who have three games in hand.

Before the game both teams had gathered behind a banner featuring the word "peace" in several languages, held by Rangnick and some United fans waved Ukrainian flags.

Ronaldo's saw his early effort hit the post, and he had the ball in the back of the net shortly after when he turned in a low cross from Alex Telles, but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag.

Foster was out quick to foil Fernandes as he threatened and the Portuguese midfielder was then unable to find the target with a volley from a central position and a back post header.

Watford were limited to occasional counter attacks but, from the best of those breaks, Emmanuel Dennis' shot hit Raphael Varane and bounced harmlessly to David de Gea.

Elanga wasted a good opportunity after the break, firing wide after being put in by a flick from Paul Pogba, but Roy Hodgson's Watford defended with tenacity to claim a draw.

"That was not the only one [chance]. In the first half we had five massive chances then in the second half we had another three or four. Today we had enough chances to win that game," Ronaldo told BBC's Match of the Day.

"Sometimes we are unlucky, when we hit the post, but we also had a few opportunities one-on-one with the goalkeeper. This is not luck, it is a question of sharpness and efficiency in-front of goal."