Manchester United twice threw away a two-goal lead to slip to a stunning defeat at Leicester.

Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria put the Reds ahead within the first 16 minutes, before Leonardo Ulloa pulled one back almost immediately. Ander Herrera made it 3-1 early in the second half, but a controversial penalty, converted by David Nugent, sparked an astonishing turnaround. Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Vardy and an Ulloa spot-kick condemned United to a defeat that seemed almost impossible when Herrera had scored.

Louis van Gaal made one change to the side that had eased to victory over QPR, handing Radamel Falcao his first start in place of Juan Mata. Wayne Rooney moved to the top of the midfield diamond in place of the Spaniard, and the same back four meant that Luke Shaw would have to wait for his United debut.

The Reds were on the back foot in the opening stages against a pumped-up home side, but on 10 minutes Kasper Schmeichel was the first goalkeeper called into action. Angel Di Maria’s perceptive pass sliced through the Leicester defence, and van Persie’s stabbed effort was parried away by the Dane.

But the Dutchman did not have to wait too long to open his account for the season. Falcao raced away from ex-Red defender Ritchie De Laet to deliver a pinpoint cross that van Persie nodded past Schmeichel, the ball taking a deflection off Liam Moore’s shoulder on the way to put United ahead after 13 minutes.

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