In a thrilling Premier League match at Molineux, Manchester United defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 thanks to the heroics of 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo.
The visitors were in complete control of the game when Rasmus Hojlund broke the deadlock and became the youngest player to score and assist in back-to-back Manchester United games, surpassing even Cristiano Ronaldo. The Red Devils were unplayable for the opening forty-five minutes.
Scott McTominay’s header seemed to be insufficient to lead the Red Devils to victory, but Wolves rediscovered their bite in the second half as Pablo Sarabia, Max Kilman, and Pedro Neto struck the target for Gary O’Neil’s team.
However, academy grads Omari Forson and Mainoo collaborated for the latter to curl in a magnificent solo effort and win the seven-goal spectacular for the visitors only two minutes after Neto’s score deep into injury time.
Erik ten Hag reiterated that the issue surrounding Rashford’s contentious trip to Belfast and his nightclub activities was “closed” after a whirlwind of reports about his conduct off the pitch and long-term future with Manchester United. Rashford started on the visiting team.
The plan was for Rashford to steal the show at Molineux, where his redemption story started with only five minutes on the board after garnering unwelcome attention for many days.
Bruno Fernandes deftly sidestepped Diogo Dalot’s low throw into the box, allowing Hojlund to hold the ball up and set up Rashford on the outside of the area, where the England winger curled a magnificent drive into the corner.
Manchester United’s great start was rewarded with Rashford’s sixth Premier League goal of the year. Andre Onana didn’t have to make a stop until the 21st minute, but Matheus Cunha’s feeble effort never troubled him.
After Cunha’s effort, Rashford found Luke Shaw’s distinctive overlapping run on the left, and in spite of Craig Dawson and Jose Sa’s best efforts, Hojlund bundled in the defender’s low ball into the six-yard box. This was the Red Devils’ second opportunity to score.
Hojlund seemed to have the finishing touch to put the ball in the net amongst the hectic three-man goalmouth scramble, and the visitors should have been out of sight in the 26th minute when Casemiro headed wide from Fernandes’s well-executed free kick.
O’Neil’s team continued to struggle to score goals as the half went on. In the 34th minute, Raphael Varane also missed a volley, and in the final seconds of the first half, Hojlund and Casemiro both made the net bulge but were both stopped by an offside call.
But just as Wolves’ hopes were beginning to rise, Ten Hag’s brilliant substitute in the 75th minute saw Manchester United reclaim their two-goal lead. McTominay, left alone at a corner, sent a header into the ground and into the top of the net past a flat-footed Sa.
Wolves’ diligent work was quickly undone by some genuinely appalling set-piece defence, but in the 85th minute, the hosts would ironically cut the Red Devils’ lead once again with a corner of their own.
The hosts’ hopes were revived when Dawson, Manchester United’s center-back partner, calmly chested the ball down before a deft turn and finish. Dawson had volleyed the ball back into the mixer for Kilman.
After a corner put several Manchester United shirts in the Wolves half, the hosts launched a lightning-fast counterattack that ended with Neto firing through Varane’s legs and into the back of the net at Onana’s exposed near post. This caused Molineux to explode into unbridled pandemonium in the fifth of nine additional minutes.
Just two minutes later, however, the much-coveted Mainoo surged at the Wolves backline, opened up his body, and hit the far corner like a seasoned number nine, setting off joyous celebrations from the away end as Ten Hag’s team triumphed. This would cause the home fans to collapse completely.
Manchester United, who will take on West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday, has surged to seventh place in the rankings after snapping a four-game losing streak away from home. The Wolves, however, are now ranked eleventh ahead of their trip to Chelsea.
Four minutes into the second half, the Wolves had their own free kick and came dangerously close to drawing level when Onana was stranded in no man’s land. However, Lisandro Martinez expertly diverted Kilman’s goal-bound header away from danger.
Similar to how he clattered Sasa Kalajdzic on the first weekend of the season, Onana also disqualified Kilman in the process of revealing his goal, but VAR officer Paul Tierney, who had decided not to award Chelsea two penalties in Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, did not see the need to intervene.
A mistake by Toti put Hojlund in front of Sa with a golden opportunity to double Wolves’ agony, but the Dane fired straight at the Portuguese goal with the goal at his mercy, giving the hosts a small breath of fresh air.
After Onana and Varane narrowly prevented Dawson from tying the score three minutes later, the hosts were granted a much more controversial penalty after the former’s possibly lucky escape from surrendering a penalty earlier in the contest.
After the lightest of swipes from Casemiro, Neto struck the ground spectacularly with 68 minutes remaining. However, Jarred Gillett immediately signalled to the spot, and the VAR room confirmed the referee’s judgement. Sarabia then calmly stroked in his spot kick down the centre.