Report: United 1 Wolves 0
Manchester United made a winning start to our 2023/24 Premier League campaign, beating Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to Raphael Varane's second-half header.
Erik ten Hag's side were pushed all the way in M16, but could have gone ahead after just 10 minutes played, with Marcus Rashford's strike denied by Jose Sa.
Wolves had their chances, with Matheus Cunha presented with the visitors' best opening of the game shortly after the restart. Pedro Neto's low cross eventually found the unmarked Portuguese playmaker at the back post, but he could only steer his strike onto the woodwork and wide.
The Reds soon made Gary O'Neil's side pay, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka picked out Varane inside the penalty area, who nodded home the game's only goal to secure our opening-day success.
We survived a late scare when VAR checked an Andre Onana challenge on Sasa Kalajdzic inside the box but no penalty was the verdict.
After a slow start at Old Trafford, United's first sight on goal came with Antony's pace in behind allowing Rashford to dart through. Last season's top scorer was, however, thwarted by the outstretched Jose Sa.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Lisandro Martinez was shown the game's first yellow card for a late challenge on Neto on the byline. The Argentinian mistimed his chopping tackle, leaving referee Simon Hooper with no choice but to dish out a caution.
Cunha continued to prove quite a handful shortly after, as he powered forward past two challenges from both Casemiro and Martinez to tee up Pablo Sarabia over on the left. The 31-year-old's shot, fortunately, flashed just wide of the post, with United again given a warning sign from the visitors.
O'Neil's side applied further pressure with 33 minutes played in M16, with the ever-threatening Brazilian Cunha finding just enough room to burst past Martinez and get his shot away. This time, his effort narrowly evaded nestling into the bottom corner, providing another let-off for Ten Hag's men.
Loud shouts for a penalty were turned downed by referee Hooper as the first half wore on. Wan-Bissaka's driving run and cross over on the right flank found its way to Rashford, who saw his header blocked by Nelson Semedo. Luckily for the Portuguese defender, his arm was down by his side and it required no further intervention.
As the second half began, Wolves squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead. Neto's ball across the six-yard area fell kindly to the feet of Cunha, who side-footed his attempt against Onana's right post.
It was Cunha again who continued to be a thorn in the Reds' side with 55 minutes played at the Theatre of Dreams, charging through the midfield once more to open up all kinds of space for himself. This time opting to go alone, the Wolves man saw his effort well saved by United's debutant in between the sticks.
Alejandro Garnacho worked a neat opening just before the hour mark which lifted the Stretford End faithful off their seats, with most urging him to shoot. The youngster duly obliged seconds later, but saw his effort fly over the crossbar.
O'Neil's men came forward again with 70 minutes on the clock, with Cunha again the orchestrator. Bursting through from midfield, he teed up substitute Hwang Hee-chan over on the left, whose cross eventually fell to Neto, before Onana again came to the Reds' rescue.
It all, however, proved in vain for the visitors, as United hit the front with 15 minutes left to play. Captain Bruno's delicious chip found the advancing Wan-Bissaka inside the area. Our no.29 clipped an equally impressive ball to the back post, leaving fellow defender Varane with the easiest of tasks to nod us ahead.
United then had the heroics of Onana to thank on two occasions as Wolves gathered up a late head of steam. Substitute Fabio Silva was twice denied by our new no.24, with the second of his saves particularly impressive, after the ball fortuitously landed at Silva's feet inside the six-yard area. Onana, however, stood tall to deny him.
The visitors' claims for a late penalty were waved away deep into stoppage time after Onana collided with substitute Kalajdzic inside the area, with the ball coming off Dawson behind them. VAR opted not award a spot-kick, with Hooper booking O'Neil for his protests, as the Reds held out to begin 2023/24 with a triumph.
United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez (Lindelof, 46), Shaw; Casemiro, Mount (Eriksen, 67); Antony (Pellistri, 77), Fernandes (c), Garnacho (Sancho, 67); Rashford (McTominay, 87).
Subs not used: Henderson, Dalot, Maguire, Martial.
Goals: Varane 76.
Booked: Martinez, Shaw.
Wolves: Sa; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman (c), Ait-Nouri (Beuno, 77); Lemina, Gomes (Kalajdzic, 88), Nunes; Sarabia (Hwang, 63), Cunha (Silva, 77), Neto.
Subs not used: Bentley, Doherty, Traore, Bueno, Toti, Hodge.
Booked: Lemina, Ait-Nouri, Neto.