30/04/2017 11:00 v Manchester United
Swansea City claimed what could be a priceless point in their fight for Premier League survival thanks to a hugely creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
The Swans did everything Paul Clement could have asked of them, playing with courage, desire and no shortage of quality against a United side who have not lost in 25 top-flight games.
It looked for a while as though the Swans would come away with nothing despite their laudable performance thanks to a penalty decision which left Clement’s players raging.
Marcus Rashford won the spot-kick in first-half stoppage time, the England starlet going down as Lukasz Fabianski came off his line and went to ground.
The Swans felt Rashford had tumbled far too easily, but the spot-kick was awarded and Wayne Rooney scored.
It was not until 12 minutes from the end that Clement’s men responded, with the equaliser coming in glorious fashion.
Glyfi Sigurdsson had not scored for nearly three months, but produced a fabulous free-kick to earn a draw for his team.
The point means the Swans are two points adrift of 17th-placed Hull City with three games remaining this season.
The Swans began with purpose and confidence, using the ball well and hunting down red shirts when the hosts were in possession.
So it was no surprise when Clement’s side threatened first.
When Kyle Naughton centred from the right flank on 12 minutes, Jordan Ayew turned and shot only for his effort to be blocked by Daley Blind.
The Swans were soon pressing again, with Tom Carroll’s precise pass picking out Fernando Llorente in the penalty area.
The targetman produced some nimble footwork to turn away from Eric Bailly, but his right-foot shoot was expertly saved by David De Gea.
United responded, with Jesse Lingard breaking the offside trap only to see his first-time shot smothered by Lukasz Fabianski at the near post.
Rooney headed well over as he stretched to reach an Ashley Young cross then, after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick was gathered by De Gea, Anthony Martial conjured a big chance for the home side.
The Frenchman waltzed in off the left flank before driving a shot which Fabianski did well to gather at the second attempt.
The Swans came again, with a lovely move allowing Carroll to pick out Ayew with a lovely pass.
The Ghanaian made a yard to shoot and before unleashing a low drive which De Gea kicked away.
The Swans could feel well pleased with their efforts as the interval approached, but their mood changed in stoppage time as United were awarded a highly contentious penalty.
Marcus Rashford got in behind, prompting Fabianski to race off his line.
The Swans keeper slid out only to stop himself making contact with Rashford, yet the young striker stuck out a foot to catch Fabianski and then tumbled to the turf.
After taking a while to decide, the referee pointed to the spot and Rooney sent Fabianski the wrong way to give United the lead.
The Swans felt very hard done by.
Clement's side had to dig deep and muster a response, yet they almost found themselves 2-0 down soon after the restart when Rooney’s goalbound shot was inadvertently blocked by Martial.
After so many opportunities in the first half, the Swans’ attacking threat was limited early in the second, prompting Clement to send on Leroy Fer in the hope that he would offer fresh drive in midfield.
United could have made the Swans’ task even harder in the 62nd minute, but Martial’s deflected effort was pawed out by Fabianski before Naughton completed the clearance.
Next Clement turned to Jefferson Montero, sacrificing Leon Britton to get the winger into the action.
Montero lasted only seven minutes before being forced off with a hamstring problem, meaning Martin Olsson was sent on to replace the substitute on the left flank.
United’s threat was coming largely on the counter as the contest wore on, and one swift break ended with Fabianski beating away Antonio Valencia’s shot.
Then it was the Swans’ turn to burst forward, with Fer and Ayew combining well to tee up Sigurdsson, but the Icelander’s shot was unusually wayward and the ball sailed into the crowd.
Two minutes later, he would have another go – and this one went considerably better.
The Swans were awarded some 25 yards from goal when Rooney fouled Ayew.
Sigurdsson stepped up and despatched a fabulous free-kick which arced inches inside De Gea’s left-hand post.
It was a fabulous strike, one of the best of the many Sigurdsson has produced in a Swans shirt.
In a frantic finale, the Swans had perhaps the best opportunity - but Llorente failed to make significant contact when he found space from Sigurdsson's free-kick.
MANCHESTER UNITED: David de Gea, Ashley Young, Eric Bailly (Matteo Darmian, 61), Daley Blind, Luke Shaw (Antonio Valencia, 9), Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney (capt, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 80), Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.
SUBS: Sergio Romero, Axel Tuanzebe, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay
SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Stephen Kingsley, Leon Britton (capt, Jefferson Montero, 65; Martin Olsson, 72), Ki Sung-Yueng (Leroy Fer, 61), Tom Carroll, Jordan Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente.
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Jordi Amat, Jack Cork, Borja.