LONDON – Manchester United jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Watford in Tuesday’s match at Vicarage Road, but conceded two late goals before getting an insurance tally from Jesse Lingard to secure the 4-2 victory.
The outcome brings United to within five points of Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Ashley Young, the hero of last weekend’s home win over Brighton & Hove Albion, put the visitors up 1-0 with a strike in the 19th minute – his first goal away from Old Trafford since March 2015.
Six minutes later, the 32-year-old Young made it 2-0 for the Red Devils with a brilliant free kick after Paul Pogba was fouled.
A poor clearance by Watford put the ball at the feet of Lingard, whose fine pass set up Anthony Martial to boost United’s lead to a seemingly insurmountable 3-0.
But the picture changed suddenly in the final 15 minutes of regulation, starting with a foolish foul by United’s Marcos Rojo against Roberto Pereyra.
Troy Deeney converted from the spot and Abdoulaye Doucoure scored from close range minutes later to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
Watford flew forward in pursuit of the equalizer, but Lingard closed the door, getting the fourth goal for United with a great individual effort.
Man City, undefeated after 13 matches, will host Southampton on Wednesday at the Etihad with a chance to restore their lead over United to eight points.
In Tuesday’s other games, Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 at Leicester City to fall out of the top four as the Foxes – who were in the drop zone a month ago- climbed into ninth place on the strength of goals by Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
Brighton managed only a scoreless draw at home against Crystal Palace, while visiting Newcastle United came from behind to finish 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.