Tuesday 16 January 2018

Marcus Rashford marks England call with another Manchester United goal

Marcus Rashford, second left, celebrates his goal against Bournemouth
Marcus Rashford, second left, celebrates his goal against Bournemouth

Marcus Rashford celebrated his maiden England call-up with a fine strike as Manchester United overcame Bournemouth.

The match took place two days after a bomb scare forced its hasty rearrangement and United coasted to a 3-1 victory.

Error rather than terror proved to be at the heart of the issue that saw the original match abandoned, with a private security firm having left a fake bomb inside Old Trafford following a training exercise.

United refunded all fans with tickets for Sunday's match and offered them free entry to the rearranged game, but a number stayed away as Rashford followed Monday's England call-up with a lovely goal in a win that belatedly brought the Premier League to a close.

The 18-year-old's impressive finish made it eight goals in 17 matches since making his first-team debut less than three months ago and came between a Wayne Rooney goal and another that the United captain created superbly.

The England skipper opened the scoring by ending a fine team move - his 100th Premier League goal at Old Trafford - before beautifully clipping the ball over for substitute Ashley Young to score late on.

The three points see United usurp Southampton in fifth and secure a place in the Europa League group stage, but whether Louis van Gaal is still presiding over the team by then remains to be seen as fresh reports about Jose Mourinho were compounded by a bleak first half. Van Gaal was booed by some supporters after the final whistle as he addressed the crowd.

There was never any chance of the club-record 19 goals required to wrest fourth place and Champions League football from Manchester City, but not even Chris Smalling's late own goal will prevent United entering the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace in good heart.

It was not quite the entertaining display Van Gaal had hoped for when naming the same starting line-up planned for Sunday, with the match feeling initially more like a testimonial given neither side showed cutting edge as play swung from end-to-end aimlessly.

Bournemouth's travelling support were the only entertainment for a while in a match that required 32 minutes for either goalkeeper to dirty their gloves - and when Adam Federici was called into action it was only to catch a Rooney free-kick that evaded Michael Carrick.

Marc Pugh saw a drive blocked by Antonio Valencia at the other end, before United scored a team goal of surprising quality.

Rooney started and finished the move, playing the ball out wide to Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. The full-back passed to Anthony Martial, who collected from a neat one-two with Juan Mata and crossed for Rooney to slot home.

Rashford intelligently stepped over the cross and was soon on the deck in pain after colliding with Tommy Elphick - an incident that will have no doubt had Roy Hodgson wincing.

The teenager was able to continue for a second half that began with Callum Wilson and Dan Gosling having attempts, before United were harshly denied a penalty.

Another exceptional team move from United saw Juan Mata spin in the box and be taken down by Steve Cook, although referee Jon Moss waved play on.

A 30-yard Carrick strike rattled the crossbar, via a slight deflection, soon after, with a handball appeal and Jesse Lingard strike wide quickly following.

Federici did brilliantly to tip over a long-range Valencia effort as United belatedly showed some intensity, doubling their advantage in the 74th minute.

Rooney, again impressing in a deeper midfield role, clipped a ball across the box, with Valencia's cushioned header swept home impressively by Rashford.

The fans' favourite soon left to a standing ovation as the clock wound down, with Cook trying an audacious overhead kick for the Cherries.

There was still time for more goals, though, as Rooney lifted smartly over the Bournemouth defence, with Young turning home.

Fellow second-half introduction Max Gradel saw a stoppage-time effort deflect home off Smalling, but it was merely a consolation goal for Bournemouth.


"3 zip... Been impressed again tonight by Rashford.. Pushing door down to make final @England squad!" - Former United striker Andrew Cole (@vancole9) believes Marcus Rashford furthered his claim for a Euro 2016 berth tonight.


Manchester United

David de Gea: 6/10

Antonio Valencia: 7

Chris Smalling: 6

Daley Blind: 6

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: 6

Michael Carrick: 7

Jesse Lingard: 6

Juan Mata: 7

Wayne Rooney: 8

Anthony Martial: 6

Marcus Rashford: 7


Ander Herrera (for Mata, 75): 6

Memphis Depay (for Rashford, 79): 6

Ashley Young (for Martial, 84): 6


Adam Federici: 7

Simon Francis: 7

Tommy Elphick: 6

Steve Cook: 6

Charlie Daniels: 6

Matt Ritchie: 6

Dan Gosling: 6

Andrew Surman: 6

Marc Pugh: 6

Joshua King: 6

Callum Wilson: 6


Max Gradel (for Pugh, 66): 6

Benik Afobe (for King, 67): 6

Lewis Grabban (for Wilson, 79): 7


Wayne Rooney. Put United ahead by starting and finishing a good team move, clipped a fine ball into the box in the build-up to Rashford's strike and teed up Young's goal. The United skipper also covered a lot of ground, having again been deployed in a midfield role. At one point he popped up at left-back to break up a Bournemouth attack. He is certainly looking good in terms of fitness ahead of the FA Cup final and Euro 2016.


Rooney's goal capped a fine team move. The United skipper was involved before Anthony Martial and Juan Mata took over, playing a slick one-two. The Frenchman then crossed low in front of goal and Rooney arrived at the right time to tuck home.


United were ponderous for large parts but it has been a difficult couple of days and the carrot of Champions League qualification had gone. It was probably asking too much for United to produce an exhilarating performance and Louis van Gaal should be happy enough with the routine win as he looks ahead to the FA Cup final. Aside from a few bright moments, Bournemouth looked like a side that, mentally, had already ended their season. After surviving in the top flight at the first time of asking, manager Eddie Howe is unlikely to be too harsh on them for that.


The whole first half. It had end-of-season written all over it. After the deflation of Sunday's abandonment the atmosphere was subdued and that transmitted to the players. Neither side seemed to show much enthusiasm and United probably wanted to take it easy with Saturday's Wembley date in mind. Rooney's goal at least enlivened things and the second half was much better.


Manchester United v Crystal Palace, FA Cup final (Saturday, May 21)

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