Manchester United were held to a hugely frustrating goalless draw at Old Trafford on Wednesday night as Hull City ground out a point to aid their cause at the bottom of the Premier League.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Marcos Rojo all brought fine saves from Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, who was in inspired form between the posts for the visitors. But despite dominating proceedings, it wasn’t to be United’s night as Jose Mourinho’s men could not find a way past the resolute Tigers.
For the second successive game, Mourinho made nine changes as the boss restored several first-team regulars to a strong line-up, with Marcos Rojo and Henrikh Mkhitaryan the only survivors from the side which beat Wigan 4-0 on Sunday to reach the FA Cup fifth round.
The Reds started positively and, as early as the second minute, Mkhitaryan was released in behind by an intelligent Ander Herrera pass but Hull defender Andy Robertson poked the ball to safety before the Armenian could get a shot away.
The first real chance of the night, however, came the way of the visitors in the eighth minute when Harry Maguire, up from the back, got free to head inches wide of the post from a David Meyler free-kick.
The Reds were then inches away from the breakthrough on the quarter-hour mark as Zlatan Ibrahimovic unleashed a stunning 25-yard effort which was tipped wide by Tigers keeper Eldin Jakupovic before Rojo flashed a header over after Rashford’s flick kept a Mkhitaryan corner alive.
Daley Blind sent an ambitious volley over the crossbar from the edge of the box after excellent build-up play involving Herrera and Antonio Valencia, whose cross from the right flank was initially cleared by Sam Clucas.
The teams’ third meeting in 23 days proved to be just as tight as their two-legged EFL Cup semi-final, with United finding the stubborn Tigers a tough nut to crack once more in the first half.
Top scorer Ibrahimovic got on the end of a neat Paul Pogba lay-off but his low shot trickled through to Jakupovic, who moments later produced a fine near-post save to deny Pogba as the Reds were left frustrated at the interval.