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Mark Hughes

Goal of the Day: Hughes's derby-day header

Today's 'Goal of the Day' series comes from 1990 and was scored at the old home of our city rivals...

Date: 27 October 1990, Maine Road, Division One

Background: United’s previous visit to Maine Road, in September 1989, had ended in an infamous 5-1 defeat to Manchester City in what was arguably the nadir of Alex Ferguson’s early years at Old Trafford. Mark Hughes netted United’s goal that day and, 13 months later, with the Reds up against it once more in the Manchester derby, the Welshman was at it again.

The goal: United were 2-0 down following a David White brace for the hosts with half-time looming, when Denis Irwin sent an in-swinging free-kick towards the penalty spot. Though tightly marked, Hughes managed to wriggle free before soaring high and planting an unstoppable header into the back of Tony Coton’s net.

What happened next: After Colin Hendry had put the hosts 3-1 up, prompting widespread mockery from the home support, Brian McClair netted two close-range finishes in the last 10 minutes to rescue a point for the Reds, and it required a smart save from Coton to prevent Gary Pallister from securing the unlikeliest of comeback wins in a late goalmouth scramble.

Reaction: “Just when you need something from him most, Mark Hughes comes up with it,” cooed ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley, whose words would prove even more prophetic by the season’s end, when Hughes’ brace against Barcelona secured the European Cup Winners’ Cup for the Reds.

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