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Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United: Falcao header equals Benteke’s stunner, 10-man Villans hang on for point


CORRECTING NAME OF MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYER Aston Villa’s Dutch defender Ron Vlaar (L) and Manchester United’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao jump to head the ball during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England, on December 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. == (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

The stars aligned to put the Red Devils and Villans level at Villa Park.

Christian Benteke toyed with Johnny Evans and Manchester United to put the home side up 1-0, but Radamel Falcao’s header made sure Aston Villa only gained one point in a 1-1 draw.

United loses ground to No. 2 Manchester City, which trounced Crystal Palace, while Villa grabs its 20th point of the season.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Benteke picked up the ball just inside the 18, near the right corner. He touched once around Johnny Evans then shook him with another body feint before curling a left-footed shot into the upper left corner.

That aside, United carried the lion’s share of possession and outshot Villa 5-2 in the first half. Yet the score remained 1-0 into the break, and Louis van Gaal opted to sub in Tyler Blackett for Darren Fletcher.

The second half saw Brad Guzan make a big two-handed parry of Robin van Persie as United opened fast. After clearing the ensuing corner, Villa’s defense watched as Mata unleashed a low shot that Guzan fortunately corralled.

Guzan was beaten, though, moments later. Ashley Young made a strong run down the left side before crossing into the box, and Falcao leapt high to head a missile into the corner. It was 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Gabby Agbonlahor tilted things in United’s favor when he picked up a red card in the 65th minute, mistiming his challenge on Ashley Young and kicking the Red Devil in the ankle.

Leandro Bacuna belted a bouncing ball over the bar with about 10 minutes to go, as a pair of Paul Lambert substitutions seemed to inspire the 10-man Villans.


Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar (c), Okore, Clark, Cissokho (Bacuna, 80'), Sanchez, Delph, Weimann (N’Zogbia, 80'), Agbonlahor (RC, 65'), Benteke

Goal: Benteke (18')

Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Carrick, Evans, Valencia (Wilson, 74'), Fletcher (Blackett, 45'), Mata, Rooney, Young, van Persie (Di Maria, 61'), Falcao

Goal: Falcao (53')

Follow @NicholasMendola