Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United: Scott McTominay scores late winner for Red Devils

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Rasmus Hojlund scoring the opening goal against Aston Villa
Rasmus Hojlund has scored six goals in his past seven appearances in all competitions

Scott McTominay’s 86th-minute header gave Manchester United a priceless victory at Aston Villa as they fight for Champions League qualification.

United appeared to be clinging on for a point as Villa created a succession of chances after Douglas Luiz cancelled out Rasmus Hojlund’s first-half strike.

But McTominay settled a thrilling contest when he got in front of Matty Cash and rose to meet Diogo Dalot’s right-wing cross.

United manager Erik ten Hag punched the air in delight as his side moved to within five points of their hosts, who remain fifth, and six adrift of Tottenham.

It was the Red Devils’ fourth successive victory in all competitions – their best run of the season.

The result was harsh on Villa, though. They were thwarted on numerous occasions by United keeper Andre Onana, and despite the urgings of the home support were unable to draw level a second time.

Five-star Hojlund

In the high-ability world of elite sport, confidence plays such a key part.

When Hojlund lined up for the reverse fixture between these sides on 26 December, he was yet to score a league goal and his overall contribution was coming under major scrutiny.

Wind the clock forward seven weeks and the 21-year-old is the second youngest player in Premier League history to have scored in five successive games, behind only Nicolas Anelka.

The Dane had already passed up one opportunity, created for him by Alejandro Garnacho, when he was given another by Harry Maguire.

It could be argued that Hojlund should score given he was unmarked, right in the centre of the six-yard box. But he needed a striker’s instinct to be in the right position to take advantage of Ollie Watkins’ failure to react to the possibility of Maguire heading Bruno Fernandes deep corner right into the Villa danger zone.

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Hojlund now has 11 goals in all competitions and is on the kind of run Marcus Rashford was last season as he propelled United towards the top four.

After they dropped so many needless points over the first half of the campaign, it is going to take more than a single striker to steer United into next season’s Champions League.

McTominay is certainly doing his bit. Two goals to turn what seemed like a defeat against Brentford on its head, two more – including the winner – against Chelsea, and now this.

The Scotland midfielder had all the desire needed to dominate Cash in their aerial duel. Villa boss Unai Emery’s look of despair as the ball flew past Emi Martinez and into the roof of the Villa net said everything about the importance of the goal.

More to follow.

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Aston Villa

  1. Squad number1Player nameE Martínez

  2. Squad number2Player nameCash

  3. Squad number3Player nameDiego Carlos

  4. Squad number17Player nameLenglet

  5. Squad number15Player nameÁlex Moreno

  6. Squad number44Player nameKamara

  7. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  8. Squad number31Player nameBailey

  9. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  10. Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey

  11. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  1. Squad number8Player nameTielemans

  2. Squad number12Player nameDigne

  3. Squad number19Player nameDiaby

  4. Squad number22Player nameZaniolo

Manchester United

  1. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
  2. Squad number4Player nameS Amrabat
  3. Squad number35Player nameEvans
  4. Squad number39Player nameMcTominay

Line-ups

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1E Martínez
  • 2CashBooked at 60mins
  • 3Diego Carlos
  • 17LengletBooked at 45mins
  • 15MorenoSubstituted forDigneat 87′minutes
  • 44KamaraSubstituted forDiabyat 65′minutesBooked at 71mins
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 31BaileySubstituted forTielemansat 73′minutes
  • 7McGinnSubstituted forZanioloat 87′minutes
  • 41J Ramsey
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 8Tielemans
  • 12Digne
  • 14P Torres
  • 19Diaby
  • 22Zaniolo
  • 25Olsen
  • 27Rogers
  • 29Kesler-Hayden
  • 47Iroegbunam

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Onana
  • 20Dalot
  • 19Varane
  • 5Maguire
  • 23ShawSubstituted forLindelöfat 45′minutes
  • 37MainooBooked at 45minsSubstituted forS Amrabatat 90+2′minutes
  • 18CasemiroBooked at 37mins
  • 17Garnacho
  • 8Bruno Fernandes
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forMcTominayat 73′minutes
  • 11HøjlundSubstituted forEvansat 90+2′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bayindir
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 4S Amrabat
  • 14Eriksen
  • 16Diallo
  • 21Antony
  • 35Evans
  • 39McTominay
  • 62Forson

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