LONDON: Manchester United’s faltering Premier League title challenge suffered another blow in a 1-1 draw at struggling West Brom as Wolves eased fears they could be drawn into a relegation scrap with a 2-1 win at Southampton on Sunday.
United have dropped points in five of their last seven league games to allow Manchester City to pull seven points clear, with a game in hand.
A point was enough to nudge Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men back above Leicester into second on goal difference.
But that was of little consolation to the Red Devils against a West Brom side that had conceded 24 goals in taking just one point from their previous seven home games.
Indeed, it was Sam Allardyce’s men who had the better chances to win the game and give their dwindling hopes of beating the drop a boost.
United made the worst possible start when Conor Gallagher swung in a cross and Mbaye Diagne outmuscled Victor Lindelof to power home a header after just 80 seconds.
The visitors’ struggled to make the most of their dominance of the ball before half time until Bruno Fernandes produced a moment of magic with a dipping volley on his weaker left foot a minute before half time.
Sam Johnstone denied Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay had an effort cleared off the line as United pressed for a winner.
But it was Diagne who twice should have won the game late on as he was denied when one-on-one with David de Gea before blazing an enticing low cross over the bar.
Johnstone was required once more deep into stoppage time when he tipped Harry Maguire’s header onto the post.
The draw only took the Baggies to within 12 points of safety as they remained second bottom.
Wolves moved 15 points clear of the drop zone after coming from behind to continue Southampton’s miserable run.
The Saints had beaten Nuno Espirito Santo’s men to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals in midweek and made a promising start when Danny Ings converted Stuart Armstrong’s cross.
Scoring goals has been a problem for Wolves without the injured Raul Jimenez, but they were gifted an equalizer from the penalty spot when Ryan Bertrand was penalized for handball.
Ruben Neves stroked home the spot-kick before Pedro Neto’s strike 25 minutes from time earned just a second win in 11 league games.
Southampton, who topped the table earlier in the season, have lost six league games in a row to slip to 13th.