Jose Mourinho fell to his first loss as Tottenham Hotspur boss as his Old Trafford return ended in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday evening.
Marcus Rashford stole the early headlines against his former boss as he gave the hosts the lead within the first six minutes. In-form Dele Alli levelled matters just before the break, adding to the brace he netted last time out against Bournemouth. However, the points were set to remain in Manchester as Rashford doubled his night’s work from the penalty spot, converting from a spot-kick that he won himself.
Dream start for the Red Devils
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, under pressure heading into the match, saw his team claim an early advantage with an opportunistic strike. Jesse Lingard did brilliantly to pick the pocket of Davinson Sanchez. He then found Rashford, who struck clinically past Paulo Gazzaniga at the near post.
Despite the disappointing early goal, the Spurs goalkeeper kept United’s advantage down as he made a series of solid stops. First, he halted teenager Mason Greenwood’s powerful shot from close range before somehow managing to tip Rashford’s effort from outside of the area onto the crossbar.
Alli’s sparkling form continues
The battle between the Argentine and the England forward continued throughout the match as another curling effort was palmed wide.
Those saves ensured that Tottenham remained in touching distance and they profited on that just before the break. With David De Gea remaining firm and stopping Serge Aurier’s powerful drive, the ball came to Alli in the box. He then showed sumptuous skill to pluck the ball out of the air, swivel past Ashley Young and Fred, before smacking it into the far corner of the United net.
United regain the lead from the spot
Despite managing to haul themselves level, Mourinho’s Tottenham continued to struggle. As a result, the parity did not last for very long. Rashford again got his names in lights as a wonderful run saw him draw a foul from Moussa Sissoko in the penalty area. The 22-year-old seized the responsibility and sent Gazzaniga the wrong way to edge the hosts back in front once again.
United could potentially have increased their advantage as Rashford, Greenwood and Daniel James combined to draw the Spurs stopper into a solid save. Serge Aurier also had a chance for Tottenham but could only force De Gea into a comfortable save.
Alli could well have sealed a late, if undeserved draw for the visitors, but he couldn’t beat the United stopper either as the hosts sealed a morale-boosting win and moved up to sixth in the Premier League table. Meanwhile, the defeat means Spurs drop to eighth.
Just over a year after being sacked by United, Mourinho really would have loved a win at Old Trafford. That was not meant to be however, as Spurs didn’t quite match up to the levels of performance that they have been putting on for the past few weeks. The Red Devils just looked hungrier for a victory and that is exactly what they got, easing the pressure considerably on Solskjaer.
Manchester United: De Gea (7); Wan-Bissaka (6), Maguire (6), Lindelöf (6), Young (6); James (7), Fred (7), McTominay (7), Lingard (6) (Shaw (N/A), 87′); Greenwood (6) (Pereira (N/A), 80′), Rashford (8).
Tottenham Hotspur: Gazzaniga (6); Vertonghen (6), Alderweireld (7), Sanchez (6), Aurier (7); Sissoko (6) (Lo Celso (N/A), 85′), Winks (6) (Ndombele (6), 70′), Alli (7); Moura (5) (Eriksen (6), 64′), Son (6), Kane (5).
Goals: Rashford (6′, 45′ PEN), Alli (39′)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Yellow Cards: Winks (13′)
Red Cards: N/A
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