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United celebrate the first goal.

Match report: United 2 Leicester City 1

Captain Paul Pogba was instrumental in helping Manchester United kick off the 2018/19 Premier League season with a win.

His early penalty and a second-half Luke Shaw strike, his first senior goal, was enough to earn the Reds a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Friday night at Old Trafford. Jamie Vardy did pull a late consolation back for the Foxes, but it failed to deny United a winning start.

Jose Mourinho hinted pre-match that some of the Reds' World Cup stars may play against the Foxes and that was exactly what occurred with Pogba taking the armband in midfield and Romelu Lukaku deemed fit enough to take his place on the bench. Our summer signing Fred made his competitive Reds debut and the impressive pre-season showings from Andreas Pereira earned him a start.

Season openers often take a while to reach the tempo of the usual fierce, fast-paced Premier League encounters, but this one had Reds fans fired up after just two minutes. Alexis Sanchez's shot rebounded off Wes Morgan and struck Daniel Amartey on the arm and, after a short delay, referee Andre Marriner duly pointed to the spot. Just 26 days after leading France to World Cup glory, Pogba nonchalantly tip-toed his way to the ball and clinically dispatched the penalty into Kasper Schmeichel's top corner. 

United's no.6 had quickly picked up where he left off in Russia and he was equally as effective at the other end, being in the right place to head clear two dangerous Foxes' free-kicks, before the lively Kelechi Iheanacho's effort narrowly missed David De Gea's far post.

Eric Bailly, was one of the few Reds who had a summer off and he looked sharp, denying the Leicester forwards with some all-action defending and it didn't take long for David De Gea to pick up his seamless, world-class saving duties, tipping James Maddison's shot round the post as the away side pressed for the equaliser.

Fred, who covered the most distance out of any United player in the first half, showed off his array of passes to good effect, one of which found Shaw in behind, but Schmeichel grasped gratefully as United went in at the break one up. 

Bailly came to United's rescue again as he halted Iheanacho before the former Manchester City man could pull the trigger. At the other end, Pogba played in Alexis Sanchez who squared for Juan Mata, but his effort was deflected wide, via the arm of Wes Morgan, before substitute Vardy pressured Shaw into a mistake and crossed for Iheanacho, but De Gea saved down low.

Substitute Lukaku had a chance to wrap the game up when one-on-one, but his effort was deflected over via the sprawling feet of Schmeichel, but it didn't matter as fans' favourite Shaw doubled United's lead eight minutes from time, beating Ricardo Pereira at the far post and poking the ball past, this time, the helpless Dane.

Vardy did grab a late goal, heading in at the far post after Ricardo's cross had rebounded off the post, but it turned out to be a consolation as the Reds kicked off the new campaign with the three points.

THE LINE-UPS 

United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Pereira, Fred (McTominay 76), Pogba (c) (Fellaini 83); Mata, Alexis, Rashford (Lukaku 67).

Subs not used: Grant, Young, Smalling, Martial. 

Scorers: Pogba 3, Shaw 82

Booked: Fred, Pereira.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Pereira, Maguire, Morgan (c), Chilwell, Gray, Amartey (Ghezzal 63), Silva (Iborra 80), Ndidi, Maddison (Vardy 63), Iheanacho. 

Subs not used: Ward, Evans, Fuchs, Albrighton.

Scorers: Vardy 90+3

Booked:
Amartey

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 74,439

Paul Pogba in control.
Paul Pogba in control of matters in midfield.

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