Diogo Dalot fires Manchester United to victory over Sheffield United on emotional night

Red Devils pay tribute to legend Sir Bobby Charlton and seal battling Premier League victory at Bramall Lane

Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester United. AP
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Manchester United's players paid an emotional tribute to club great and England World Cup winner Bobby Charlton before beating Sheffield United 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Charlton, who died earlier in the day at the age of 86, was one of United's greatest ever players and a key member of England's victorious 1966 World Cup team.

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes laid a wreath and a picture of the former attacking midfielder was displayed on a giant screen at Bramall Lane.

The crowd applauded as the players stood around the centre circle before kick-off.

Defender Diogo Dalot was the unlikely hero as he saved United's blushes with a 20-yard curler 13 minutes from time after Oli McBurnie’s first-half penalty had cancelled out Scott McTominay’s opener.

Manager Erik ten Hag paid tribute to Charlton after the game.

"Very sad, our thoughts are with his family, especially his wife, his children and grandchildren," said Ten Hag. "What he achieved in football was immense. Also his personality off the pitch. The football world lost a big man. We had to show our respect for him and I think we did that today. We wanted to celebrate but also to remember him."

Bottom club Sheffield United were the better team in the opening stages and wasted an early chance to open the scoring when McBurnie shot straight at Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana.

But it was the sluggish visitors who went ahead against the run of play in the 28th minute when McTominay controlled the ball on his chest and found the bottom corner from 12 yards out.

It was the Scotland international's third goal in two games following his two stoppage-time efforts to earn United a 2-1 win against Brentford earlier this month.

But the lead lasted just six minutes as McBurnie scored from the penalty spot after McTominay handled James McAtee's cross.

Fernandes was a whisker away from restoring United's lead but his free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar with Sheffield United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham rooted to the spot.

Foderingham then produced a fine point-blank save to deny Rasmus Hojlund as half-time approached.

Both sides had chances in the early minutes of the second half as the game opened up.

Substitute Rhian Brewster's long-range effort was parried by Onana before Hojlund's effort was saved by Foderingham after a defensive mix-up.

Marcus Rashford, with just one Premier League goal this season, then wasted an opening after surging down the left.

United manager Erik ten Hag made three changes shortly after the hour mark, bringing on Anthony Martial, Alejandro Garnacho and Christian Eriksen in a desperate search for a winner.

But it was defender Dalot who produced the moment of magic to win the game in the 77th minute.

The ball fell to the Portugal international outside the area and he lashed home, with Foderingham unable to keep it out despite getting his fingertips to it.

The win lifts Manchester United to eighth in the table but Sheffield United are in deep trouble, four points from safety.

Updated: October 21, 2023, 9:54 PM