Manchester United 1-0 Luton Town: Victor Lindelof fires home his first club goal in almost three years to secure a much-needed win for Erik ten Hag’s side as they rise up to sixth
- Manchester United beat Luton Town 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon
- Victor Lindelof’s first club goal in almost three years was enough for the victory
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Victor Lindelof struck his first goal for almost three years as a still-unconvincing Manchester United eased the pressure on Erik ten Hag and moved to within three points of a Champions League spot.
After the Premier League’s smallest club had stifled the biggest for nearly an hour, Rashford’s cross-shot caused havoc and Lindelof drilled home from eight yards to break a barren run that had lasted since December 2020.
Though three points were extremely welcome for ten Hag following the midweek Champions League upset against Copenhagen, there were still concerns about their performance.
Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho missed good chances while United were also indebted to goalkeeper Andre Onana for a brilliant stop to deny Carlton Morris at 0-0.
Luton had lost all 18 of their visits to Old Trafford since 1897. The last time had been 1991 when they were stuffed 5-0.
Manchester United beat Luton Town 1-0 at Old Trafford to secure a hugely important victory
Victor Lindelof fired home after 59 minutes after the ball deflected to him inside the area
It was remarkably the Swedish defender’s first goal for Man United since December 2020
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Given United’s inconsistency this season, they still travelled in hope with England internationals Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend in their line-up. For the home side, Marcus Rashford made his 250th Premier League appearance, deployed mainly on the right to accommodate Garnacho.
United dominated possession but for a long time couldn’t make it count.
Their best early chance came after 10 minutes. Rashford’s cross flicked off Gabe Osho to Hojlund who couldn’t adjust his body in time. The ball hit his thigh allowing Thomas Kaminski to make a reflex save and leave the Dane still looking for his first league goal in England.
With the Stretford End chanting “We want Glazers out”, Garnacho tried to lift spirits with a mazy run that ended with a wayward shot. Up in the stands, Sir Alex Ferguson – attending his first match since the death of his wife Lady Cathy last month – was accompanied by Sam Allardyce, who couldn’t stifle a yawn at the lack of action.
Old Trafford was getting edgy. After 30 minutes, Fernandes’ corner was volleyed back into the danger zone by Rashford and deflected off Osho.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Onana 7: Dalot 6, Maguire 7.5, Lindelof 6.5, Reguilon 6 (Varane 79); McTominay 7, Eriksen 5.5 (Mount 40 6.5); Rashford 6.5, Fernandes 6.5, Garnacho 6 (Antony 68 6); Hojlund 6 (Martial 79)
Subs unused: Bayindir (Gk), Amrabat, Hannibal, Pellistri, Mainoo
Goal: Lindelof 59
Luton Town (5-3-2): Kaminski 7: Kabore 6 (Adebayo 87), Menji 6, Lockyer 7, Osho 6.5, Doughty 7 (Clark 71 6); Townsend 7 (Chong 61 6), Nakamba 6 (Mpanzu 86), Barkley 5.5, Ogbene 6 (Giles 86); Morris 7
Subs unused: Krul (Gk), Berry, Ruddock, Brown, Nelson
Booked: Kabore, Lockyer
Referee: Graham Scott 7
It was a very important win for Erik ten Hag, who has been coming under increasing pressure
But Rasmus Hojlund failed to score in the Premier League again after a frustrating display
Luton pushed their hosts all the way but couldn’t quite find a way back into the contest
Luton almost had their big moment nine minutes before the interval. Fernandes ran into trouble inside his own half and Townsend whipped in an excellent cross towards the penalty spot.
Morris found space between Lindelof and Maguire and his powerful header was destined for the corner until Onana leaping to his left clawed the ball away.
Eriksen had to limp off after 40 minutes to be replaced by Mount. Almost immediately, Hojlund slipped a pass to Garnacho who cut inside Kaminski but then hesitated and couldn’t put away the chance.
Hojlund didn’t ease the anxiety when he mistimed a header from Fernandes’ free-kick early in the second period.
Christian Eriksen also limped off injured in the first half with an injury in another blow to United
United’s attacking talents failed to find their scoring touch as Marcus Rashford blanked again
Hatters goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski put in another impressive display with some fine saves
And the eruption that followed United’s breakthrough goal after 59 minutes was pure relief rather than anything else.
Mount fed Rashford and he fizzed a ball into a packed six-yard box. It reached McTominay and a pack of Luton defenders. The ball fell back to Lindelof and McTominay did well to jump out the way as the Swede struck decisively.
Rashford, who had now switched to left, was foiled by Kaminski when put through with a chance to score United’s second. McTominay’s header from Fernandes’ cross was tipped by the ‘keeper.
All of ten Hag’s league wins this season have been hard work but at least the points total continues to tick along slowly.
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