Match report: United 1 West Ham 0
Marcus Rashford scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner against West Ham to shoot the Reds into the top four of the Premier League in a stirring 1-0 victory.
A hard-fought game heading for a stalemate ended in sensational fashion as the never-say-die Reds conjured up an old school, late, headline-hitting climax.
Rashford had come on as a second-half sub and was on the end of a move seconds from the final whistle, which saw him tap in at the far post to convert an Edinson Cavani cross and take the roof off Old Trafford.
FIRST HALF - REDS DANGEROUS BUT NO BREAKTHROUGH
Buoyed by the second-half display and ultimate 3-1 victory at Brentford last Wednesday, the Reds were on it from kick-off against the Hammers.
Lively in possession and closing down rapidly and in numbers when not on the ball, United started in a fashion that was exciting the Old Trafford crowd.
Mason Greenwood was first to threaten after four minutes when he was put in by Bruno Fernandes, who had intercepted a Craig Dawson pass. However, as Greenwood stalled and tried to cut inside to get a shot away on his left foot, he was blocked.
Harry Maguire was making an early impression on his return from injury and brilliantly formed a brick wall that Jarrod Bowen ran into and later timed a superb tackle on the potentially dangerous Michail Antonio.
Fans were up and anticipating a Ronaldo goal in the 20th minute as Fernandes whipped in a ferocious cross towards the edge of the six-yard area. Unfortunately our no.7 couldn’t get there in time to make contact and the ball flashed wide.
Diogo Dalot then directed a header off target after 22 minutes.
Goalmouth chances dropped off for a spell but then Ronaldo cut an angry figure when he felt he was bundled over in the box by Kurt Zouma after 36 minutes. Referee Jonathan Moss turned down the appeal and then indicated that the Video Assistant Referee Paul Tierney had taken a look and was happy with the on-field decision.
West Ham ended the half on the up but Scott McTominay thwarted a late attempt by the visitors to create an opening just before the break.
SECOND HALF - RASHFORD SNATCHES WIN IN LATE DRAMA
United finally forced a serious save out of West Ham ‘keeper Areola in the 49th minute. Fernandes steered a ball into Fred, the Brazilian stepped over the ball and got a fortunate bounce back into his path and was free on goal. His shot was pushed away for a corner by the stand-in goalkeeper.
The visitors hadn’t actually tested David De Gea all match but Bowen came close after 54 minutes when he slammed an effort into the side-netting.
There was a great chance for Raphael Varane moments later when he met an Alex Telles corner but flashed his header over the bar in front of the Stretford End. Anthony Elanga swept a shot wide soon after, attempting to force the breakthrough as he had done at Brentford in midweek.
It was the Swedish teenager’s last touch, as he was then replaced by Rashford in the 62nd minute.
Bowen’s direct runs were a feature of the Hammers' attacking renaissance in the contest and, as the last 20 tense minutes approached, they seized the inititiative.
United had now been pushed back and couldn’t create an opportunity of note. Only a hoofed Fernandes shot over the bar kept the play out of our own half and suggested a late winner was on the cards.
Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial came on in the 82nd minute for Fred and Greenwood in a bid to force a grandstand finale.
But it was the Hammers who then looked like coming closest when a Soucek header zipped past the far post. Then a Declan Rice cross hit Varane and deflected towards David De Gea's near post and the Spaniard needed to step in to turn the ball aside for a corner.
It was a nail-biting late flurry by the Hammers with a turn and snapshot from Martial relieving the tension before Rashford stole in at the far post to snatch the winner and Old Trafford exploded. The noise was repeated when VAR confirmed there had been no offside in the build-up to the sensational ending.
United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred (Cavani 82) Fernandes; Greenwood (Martial 82), Elanga (Rashford 62), Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Henderson, Jones, Mata, Lingard, Matic, van de Beek.
Goal: Rashford (90+3)
West Ham: Areola; Coufal (Fredericks 70), Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen; Antonio.
Subs not used: Randolph, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Diop, Masuaku, Johnson, Kral.