Teenager Mason Greenwood first senior goal ensured Manchester United made a winning start to their Europa League campaign against Astana at Old Trafford.
Astana threatened to hold out for a draw against Manchester United on Thursday. However, their target could not flourish. On a night the 17-year-old Greenwood will never forget, he produced a clever finish in front of the Stretford End. This led him to becoming United’s youngest scorer in Europe.
Earlier, the Brazilian midfielder, Fred, hit the bar from 25 yards before forcing a fine save from a free-kick. England’s forward, Marcus Rashford wasted a string of chances against the European minnows who did not register a shot on target.
Frustrations turned into celebrations when Greenwood who has been a United since the age of 6 popped up with the winner.
Even with his first goal, still, Manchester United continued to waste their chances.
Diogo Dalot blazed over from close range after Nenad Eric had kept out substitute Jesse Lingard’s thunderous attempt.
United’s failure to sparkle despite win
Greenwood’ good was the highlight on a scrappy night for United who was far from convincing against a team that had come through qualifying to make the group stage.
Rashford wasted enough chances to have walked away with the match ball.
At the other end, Astana was worryingly able to get behind United’s defense on more than one occasion.
Alex Tuanzebe partnered Phil Jones in the center of the backline. With the goalless, the visitors should have taken the lead when Marin Tomasov found space to float across to the back post which went unpunished.
“We made it hard for ourselves.” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “In games like these, you want to make sure you win the game in the first 20 minutes then you can enjoy it.”
“But we made it hard for ourselves. You could see some of our lads needed games but it’s pleasing we got the three points.”
On Mason Greenwood’s score, he said, “We always know that in and around the box, he is one of the best finishers we have got. We wouldn’t throw him in if they weren’t ready.”
United head for London this weekend for a match against West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday. Their next Europa League group game is in the Netherlands against AZ Alkmaar on 3rd October.