Free match highlights and report as Marcus Rashford’s last-gasp winner moves Manchester United to within two points of Liverpool in the Premier League; Wolves had largely frustrated United at Old Trafford until the 93rd minute
Tuesday 29 December 2020 22:27, UK
Marcus Rashford’s deflected stoppage-time goal moved Manchester United second in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Wolves.
The game was heading for a dull goalless draw as Wolves frustrated United for 93 minutes, before Rashford’s left-footed effort came off Romain Saiss and wrongfooted Rui Patricio.
The best chance of the first half had fallen to Bruno Fernandes, but he could not turn home Mason Greenwood’s wicked cross at close range as Patricio saved, while David de Gea denied Saiss’ near-post flick at the other end.
United thought they had broken the deadlock with 20 minutes remaining when Edinson Cavani turned home a loose ball from a corner, but he was offside, and VAR’s review of a potential Conor Coady handball in the same action came back in favour of Wolves.
United were largely kept at bay by a youthful Wolves side, but Rashford grabbed the winner to move them to within two points of leaders Liverpool in the Premier League having won four from six just 21 days after crisis talk at Old Trafford following their Champions League exit. Wolves stay 12th, eight points off the top four.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Wan-Bissaka (5), Bailly (7), Maguire (6), Telles (5), Matic (6), Pogba (6), Fernandes (6), Greenwood (5), Rashford (7), Cavani (6)
Subs: Shaw (6), Martial (6), McTominay (NA)
Wolves: Rui Patricio (6), Hoever (6), Kilman (6), Coady (7), Saiss (7), Ait Nouri (6), Neves (7), Moutinho (7), Traore (6), Vitinha (6), Neto (6)
Subs: Podence (6), Silva (5)
Man of the match: Romain Saiss
How United broke through after 93 frustrating minutes
With Cavani starting for just the second time in the Premier League this season, United’s early tactic was clear: hit the wide areas and capitalise on the Uruguayan’s movement in the box.
But Wolves spotted it early enough and restricted United to central areas in a largely listless first half. United did have the best chance as Greenwood’s brilliant delivery from the right found Fernandes, but he couldn’t get proper connection with his close-range volley, which was blocked well by compatriot Rui Patricio.
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Wolves looked to break constantly and had most of the first-half efforts – Saiss’ looping header hit the top of the bar, and the defender’s flick at the near post from a free-kick was also well beaten away by De Gea – but the first half ended goalless as the visitors frustrated a United side lacking in urgency.
United brought on Luke Shaw at half-time to replace Alex Telles, the ninth half-time substitute from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, but the second half followed a similar trend.
The hosts had the ball in the net as Cavani turned home at close range as the ball fell to him kindly from a corner, but he was offside, and VAR also refused to budge on a handball call on Coady in the same passage of play.
United’s second shot on target of the game came in the 75th minute as Pogba’s long-range effort stung the hands of Rui Patricio, before Rashford’s low effort from 10 yards was blocked superbly at the last by Saiss.
It was Wolves’ youngest Premier League starting XI since April 2012, and they played with enough maturity to earn a point, but Nuno’s side were heartbroken in stoppage time.
Rashford cut onto his left foot from just inside the box, and saw his effort ricochet off man-of-the-match Saiss and into the bottom right corner for his eighth Premier League goal of the season, and the three points.
It wasn’t United’s prettiest show – far from it – and a far cry from their last outing at Old Trafford against Leeds, but Solskjaer’s side showed they can win while underperforming.
Edinson Cavani started for Manchester United for just the second time in the Premier League this season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Leicester.
Anthony Martial dropped to the bench alongside Daniel James, Fred and Scott McTominay, meaning Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood started. In defence, Aaaron Wan-Bissaka was back for Victor Lindelof, who was out of the squad, while Alex Telles came in for Luke Shaw.
Wolves made four changes of their own from the 1-1 draw against Spurs 48 hours ago; Nelson Semedo, Marcal, Daniel Podence and Fabio Silva dropped out, replaced by Ki-Jana Hoever, Max Kilman, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Vitinha.
- Since losing at home to Arsenal at the start of November, Manchester United have won seven of their last nine Premier League games (D2).
- Wolves have now conceded in each of their last nine games in the Premier League; their joint-longest run without a clean sheet in the competition under Nuno Espirito Santo (also nine games between December 2019 and January 2020.
- Marcus Rashford’s goal for Manchester United was his first at Old Trafford in the Premier League in 845 minutes of play, since last netting in July versus Southampton.
- Manchester United’s late goal through Marcus Rashford (92:51) was their latest winning goal in a Premier League game at Old Trafford since September 2009, when Michael Owen scored at 95:27 against Manchester City.
- Since his Premier League debut in February, Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more goals in the competition than any other player (32 – 18 goals, 14 assists).
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Manchester United now host Aston Villa on New Year’s Day at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, and are scheduled to host Manchester City on January 6 in the Carbaao Cup semi-final first leg at 7.45pm.
Wolves now go to Brighton in the Premier League on January 2 at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before hosting Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round at 7.45pm on Friday January 8.
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