Report: Leicester City 0 Manchester United 1

Sunday 03 February 2019 15:45

Manchester United claimed a hard-fought win against Leicester City on Sunday, thanks to a ninth-minute strike from Marcus Rashford on his 100th Premier League appearance.

Rashford was found inside the area by Paul Pogba's aerial pass, and United's no.10 fired past Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel emphatically. The victory means United have won five consecutive away games for the first time since September and October 2012 under Sir Alex Ferguson, and hoisted them to fifth in the table ahead of Arsenal's game at Manchester City.
Despite Leicester's modest position in the table heading into the game, the Foxes are notably tricky opposition for the leading sides in the league, having already beaten Chelsea and and champions Manchester City this season, while their most recent match resulted in an impressive draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
The Midlanders' new signing Youri Tielemans missed out on a place in their matchday 18, while Anthony Martial only made the bench due to the knock that kept him out of the midweek draw with Burnley. Solskjaer made four changes, with Alexis Sanchez in for Martial, and Eric Bailly, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard replacing Phil Jones, Andreas Pereira and Romelu Lukaku.
Jesse Lingard congratulates Marcus Rashford after United take the lead.
The Norwegian had intimated he feared a difficult match earlier in the week, praising the home side's energy and pace, but it was United who started briskly. The Reds should have taken the lead in the opening minutes, when Luke Shaw's clipped centre from the left found Rashford, but the Mancunian forward was just unable to direct his header back-and-down across Schmeichel's goal.
The Wythenshawe-born forward made no mistake in the ninth minute, however. After a lax ball from Leicester full-back Ricardo Pereira on the right, Pogba intercepted, and lobbed a fine pass over the top of the Foxes defence. Rashford's first touch was immaculate; his second was unerring, low and hard to Kasper Schmeichel's right and into the net.
Leicester almost hit back five minutes later, when a loose ball fell to James Maddison in the middle of the area, but Shaw crunched in to divert his shot over the bar.
The hosts sparkled intermittently, predominantly through Maddison - who, like Lingard, ghosted into clever positions across the area in front of the back four.
But bar a speculative thunderbolt from Gray - which Bailly bravely blocked with his face - and a Jonny Evans header that went wide, David De Gea had little cause for concern.
United only flickered too, after the boost of Rashford's early strike. Herrera was bright in midfield, but chances proved elusive, until Rashford fired a shot from the edge of the area to test Schmeichel again low and down to his right. This time, on the stroke of half-time, the Danish international was equal to the task.
Alexis worked hard in his first Premier League start under Solskjaer.
The hosts came out of the traps swiftly as the second period began. Neat interplay helped Maddison into the United area and he lashed a cross dangerously across the six-yard box. Seconds later, Matic was caught on the ball at the edge of the area, and Maddison pounced, this time firing into the side netting.
But United grew into the second half, with a spell of assured possession and a counter-attack where Rashford almost played Jesse Lingard through, while Matic and Herrera manoeuvred the ball sensibly around the pitch, helping the Reds maintain control. The King Power grew restless, as it had in the first half, animated only by a small stoppage in play when Pogba went down after receiving a thunderous challenge.
Rashford snatched at a chance after being played in by Shaw, before Leicester almost equalised. A Maddison free-kick was deflected skywards by United's wall and Vardy attempted a superb overhead. The Englishman's effort was straight at De Gea, who claimed it at the second grab. The hosts then went close as Harvey Barnes flashed a drive wide of De Gea's left-hand post.
Marcus Rashford's ninth-minute strike proved to be the difference.
Martial was introduced with just over 20 minutes to go, and United's attacking instincts instantly sharpened. But it was the hosts who almost scored next, via a superb curling free-kick from the left-foot of Rachid Ghezzal. Fortunately for Solskjaer's men, De Gea was able tip the ball over before it found the top corner.
Romelu Lukaku was denied by Schmeichel as the Reds searched for a second in the final 10 minutes, before Vardy shot tamely at De Gea at the end of a lively Leicester counter.
Martial was then fed by Young in the closing minutes of normal time, but like his Belgian colleague, shot straight at the keeper. Leicester sought to pile on the pressure as the four minutes of stoppage time ebbed away, but Maguire could only clip his shot softly to the left of De Gea's upright.
The whistle blew, the Leicester fans booed, and the United away cheered buoyantly. It was a ninth win in ten for Solskjaer, and three more priceless, hard-fought points earned on the road.
United: De Gea; Young (c), Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Matic, Pogba, Herrera; Lingard (Jones 90), Alexis (Martial 67), Rashford (Lukaku 77).
Subs not used: Romero, Mata, Fred, Dalot.
Scorer: Rashford 9
Bookings: Lingard, Matic, Shaw, Martial
Leicester: Schmeichel; Pereira, Maguire, Evans, Chilwell; Ndidi, Mendy (Iheanacho 84), Maddison (Ghezzal 62); Gray (Okazaki 74), Barnes, Vardy. 
Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Fuchs, Choudhury.
Bookings: Vardy, Mendy, Ghezzal, Ndidi
Attendance: 32,148
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