Goal of the day: Forlan's header v Aston Villa

Saturday 26 October 2019 05:00

Diego Forlan's first Premier League goal as a Manchester United player in October 2002 is the latest entry in our 'Goal of the Day' series.

Date: 26 October 2002, Villa Park, Premier League  
Background: Diego Forlan ended his two-and-a-half years at Old Trafford as a cult hero, but it wasn’t plain-sailing for the Uruguayan in his early months as a Red. It took Forlan 27 appearances to notch his maiden goal, a penalty against Maccabi Haifa, before his first in open play arrived against Aston Villa on this day 17 years... 

The goal: United were trailing Olof Melberg’s first-half header and time was running out when, with 13 minutes remaining, Mikael Silvestre sent a cross deep into the Villa area. There, having found space between Villa’s centre backs, Forlan met the ball with a perfectly-timed header which arced majestically into the top corner. Wild celebrations followed as the Uruguayan removed his shirt – not for the last time – to express his delight and relief.
What happened next:
Despite United dominating the closing stages, the game finished 1-1 and the Reds remained in fourth place, eight points off the top. That lead was steadily trimmed away over the coming months, however, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side mustered a memorable sprint finish to take the title in May. 
Reaction: Looking back on his time as a Red, Forlan revealed his favourite goals for the club: "A volley against Rangers in the Champions League, the last-minute winning goal against Chelsea and my first goal, an equaliser against Aston Villa when I took my shirt off!”

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