Manchester United snatched a stunning victory from the jaws of a disappointing draw on Thursday night, defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The last-gasp winner from youngster Kobbie Mainoo was a lovely reminder of his talent and contributions, and while it is no doubt the first of many memorable moments for him in his career it is also, importantly, exactly what everyone fucking needed today.
The buildup to the match was a bit overshadowed by the news around Marcus Rashford after his clubbing with Ro-Shaun Williams in Belfast got him benched for the FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Newport County over the weekend. United managed to not totally collapse in a 4-2 win to advance in the cup, and the press and pundits had their fun with getting jibes in.
It only took five minutes though for Rashford to remind everyone that his football is more than capable of doing the talking.
Silencing the critics.— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 1, 2024
Marcus Rashford scores to put Man United 1-0 ahead at Molineux! pic.twitter.com/fLhJL3Bt4g
A perfect finish from the top of the box after the turn and setup by Rasmus Hojlund. Despite the impotent results in attack those two have developed a decent understanding, and it paid off well.
Another player with an understanding alongside Rashford, who has done well since his return as well, is Luke Show. His presence at left-back has been sorely missed by this United side, and he showed why with a darting run on the overlap outside Rashford, a quick control, and a laser pass to the near post for Hojlund to tap in for 2-0 on 22 minutes.
The Reds were running rampant early, a promising sign from a team that have been anything but for most of the season. It is typically expected against a team of Wolves’ caliber, though not the kind of performance United have had much this campaign.
And they showed why after halftime.
A half of control was followed by adjustments and dominance from the hosts. They were threatening early and often in the second half, and got a breakthrough on a soft penalty to cut the lead in half.
Erik ten Hag responded with changes, and Scott Mctominay scored off the bench to double the lead again, but it wasn’t long before Wolves were back and pushing to score again.
Max Kilman struck from a corner (typical!), and Pedro Neto netted a would-be game-saving equalizer deep into stoppage time. Another collapse from United, another series of blown opportunities to put the game away early, another display of second half mismanagement and low confidence from what has been a woeful season to this point.
And yet, it wasn’t done yet.
In the seventh minute of stoppage time Kobbie Mainoo stepped up to the plate. Aided by a run from fellow academy graduate Omari Forson, Mainoo cut into the box and onto his right foot before bending a low shot into the far corner past the grasp of Jose Sa.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!?!— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 1, 2024
18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo puts Manchester United back in front with an unbelievable finish! pic.twitter.com/HzhXvyvnJP
The late, late show again for Manchester United.
What a win, more of that please, lads.