Moutinho strikes late as Wolves beat United

Premier League

Manchester United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 

Joao Moutinho’s late strike saw Wolves win their first league game at Old Trafford in almost 42 years, beating a disjointed Manchester United 1-0 in the Premier League.

Wolves’ last league victory at Old Trafford came in February 1980, and they should have been ahead at half-time. They registered 15 shots to Man Utd’s four in the first half – the first team to have more attempts than United at home since Liverpool in December 2018.

But Bruno Lage’s side had scored just one goal in their previous six Premier League games, so it was no surprise that the half ended goalless, despite early saves from David de Gea to keep Daniel Podence and Ruben Neves at bay.

United were better after the break and the introduction of Bruno Fernandes improved them further. He struck the crossbar in United’s best chance, while Cristiano Ronaldo – who wore the captain’s armband in the absence of an injured Harry Maguire – had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.

Romain Saiss matched Fernandes’ effort as his free-kick also rattled the woodwork, but Wolves did make the breakthrough late on. Phil Jones was making his first senior appearance for United in two years, but his defensive header landed at the feet of Moutinho (82), who arrowed home past a rooted De Gea.

Cristiano Ronaldo finds the net from an offside position.

It was Ralf Rangnick’s first defeat as United interim manager, with the club missing the chance to put pressure on the teams above them in the race for the top four. Wolves leapfrog Brighton into eighth, just three points behind United in seventh place.

De Gea has needed to be in superb form for United this season, and was called into two early saves as Wolves dominated the opening exchanges. The first saw him turn Podence’s effort around the post, before stretching to send Neves’ stinging volley over the crossbar with his fingertips.

Podence again tested De Gea at the near post – although it was a routine save for the goalkeeper – with United’s best chance of the half coming just before the half-hour. Mason Greenwood and Aaron Wan-Bissaka combined down the right, but the latter’s cross went just over the head of Ronaldo at the back post.

However, at the other end, Ronaldo almost gifted Wolves the opener. His poor defensive header was collected by Marcal, which Raul Jimenez just nodded wide of the target. However, United would have been saved by the offside flag against the Wolves forward.

The only chance of note in the opening exchanges of the second half was a Podence header that went easily at De Gea.

Moutinho celebrates his winning goal.

Substitute Fernandes soon had the hosts’ best chance in the 67th minute. Nemanja Matic swung in a cross from deep on the left, and Fernandes was unmarked to meet it in a superb position. However, his lifted effort smacked the underside of the crossbar before going wide.

Just after, United thought they had found the breakthrough as Fernandes swung in a free-kick from the right-wing. Ronaldo nodded it home, but he was well offside and the goal was correctly ruled out.

Wolves matched their opponents soon after as they also struck the woodwork. Matic was booked for hauling Traore down just outside the area, with Saiss lining up the free-kick. He whipped it towards the near corner, but it hit the top of the crossbar before going wide, although De Gea looked to have it covered.

But Wolves deservedly made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute. Traore’s cross was nodded away by Jones, but only as far as Moutinho waiting at the top of the area. He took a touch before steering the ball into the corner past De Gea, sparking wild celebrations in the away end.

United could have snatched a last-gasp point with a perfectly-positioned free-kick. Fernandes lined it up after a conference with Ronaldo, but his direct effort was pushed away superbly by Jose Sa as he secured a clean sheet for his side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.