Manchester United sealed a late 3-1 victory at Old Trafford following a second-half brace from Mason Greenwood and a stoppage-time insurance goal from Edinson Cavani.
The match nearly started with disaster for the Reds when it appeared that Chris Wood had converted a header from a set play in the opening seconds of the match. However, the goal would be ruled offside after the forward was mercifully a foot ahead of the backline.
As is par for the course when Ginger Mourinho is on the other side of the touchline, Sean Dyche’s side was resolute and did not give up many opportunities to the Reds in the first half. Instead, United would have a couple of half-chances, but the scoreline was not under threat to change by the referee’s whistle at halftime.
One change that did come during the half was some headwear by goalkeeper Dean Henderson. The supposed new number one for Manchester United found himself in need of a Manchester United-branded hat to aid his goalkeeping efforts as he would face the sun in the second half.
What you think you look like wearing a hat on the pitch versus what you actually look like wearing a hat on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/SnWoCyilDD— Nathan (@NathanIsRed) April 18, 2021
The stalemate would temporarily end early in the second half. In the 48th minute, Marcus Rashford went screaming up the left wing with the ball and drawing the attention of the Burnley defense. As he entered the 18-yard box, Rashford zipped a cross that was dummied by Bruno Fernandes and fell to an unmarked Greenwood who ran onto the ball and one-timed a left-footed strike into the net.
Not two minutes later, Burnley would find an equalizer. Ashley Westwood booted a corner kick that floated into the box and found the head of James Tarkowski. The center back glanced the ball past Dean Henderson and level the score.
Following the Tarkowski goal, the match seemed destined for a draw that we’ve seen so many times before between United and Burnley. However, the wonderkid would strike again in the 84th minute with a go-ahead goal. Greenwood had the ball again in his favorite area of the 18-yard box, following a wonderful pass from an in-form Paul Pogba, and the forward put his laces through an attempt on goal. The shot ricocheted off the foot of Jack Cork and past Nick Pope to give United a late lead.
Credit to the Clarets who pushed hard for an equalizer as the final moments of the match ticked down, but it would ultimately be their undoing. With their numbers pushed up to the box, Burnley would lose possession and United went on the counter. Burnley found themselves on the back foot and only able to mark one-on-one as Fernandes played a ball from the top of the box to Donny van de Beek. The Dutchman played a soft cross into the middle of the six-yard box that found the side of Cavani’s foot with no possibility of Burnley denying the striker.
With five-straight league wins under their belts since March 7th, Manchester United has closed the gap between first-place Manchester City from 14 points to eight. Unfortunately, time is not on the Reds’ side with only six matches remaining in the league. Even if 21 is delayed for another season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has once again shown its resolve and progress during the Norwegian’s multi-year rebuild project.
Manchester United return to the pitch on Sunday, April 25 to face Leeds United for a rematch of what was a very exciting barnburner for Ole’s tricky Reds back in December.