Thursday 14 November 2019

Rashford wonder goal seals morale-boosting success

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with his team mates. Photo: PA
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with his team mates. Photo: PA
Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic in action. Photo: Reuters
Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi (right) and Manchester United's Harry Maguire battle for the ball. Photo: PA

Jason Burt

It remains a long, long way back to the glory days for Manchester United but Marcus Rashford struck a wonderful, Cristiano Ronaldo-style free-kick to defeat Chelsea and earn them a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

It was an arresting goal that will live long in the memory as it evoked memories for United.

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Rashford scored both United goals and the striker's importance was underlined when, the moment he felt a twinge in his leg, he was substituted by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

By then the tie was theirs and it means that having struggled for so long, United have now won three away games in a week. Before that, their previous away success had come against Paris St-Germain last season.

This was by far the most admirable result of the three, away at Stamford Bridge, and ending the run of Frank Lampard's growing side who, to this point, had earned seven victories in-a-row in all competitions and were on a roll.

There may have been many changes, this may be the most junior of the trophies they can compete for, but any win away to Chelsea has to be marked as a significant result.

Once again United won a penalty, their eighth of the season so far but, having missed against Norwich City at the weekend, this time Marcus Rashford made no mistake.

It was a nerveless strike low to the right of goalkeeper Willy Caballero with the spot-kick earned mid-way through the first half when Marcos Alonso charged into Daniel James, who had cleverly run across him.

There is no VAR in this competition so the decision of referee Paul Tierney stood without referral. It had been a tight call but it was rash by Alonso and he paid the price.

United deserved their advantage. .

It was a sign of the importance of this tie that Scott McTominay was playing. Changes were made but even though United face Bournemouth away in the Premier League at 12.30pm on Saturday, they were minimal.

Just the four for Solskjaer from the last league line-up while Lampard's rotation was heavier, with six players stood down from the weekend win over Burnley.

To endorse the view that they are stronger equipped as a counter-attacking side, United had the better of the first half with just 36pc possession.

There was more urgency from Chelsea after the restart and eventually, just as United did in the first half, they got their reward and it was a wonderful solo effort by Batshuayi, who flicked on Caballero's kick-out in his own half, turned and collected possession. He then outstripped Harry Maguire before striking a powerful drive beyond the grasp of Sergio Romero and into the corner of the net. It was a superb strike but a poor goal to concede.

Double substitutions were made by both sides with one of those, Chelsea's Pedro, bringing down Fred.

It was 30 yards from goal but up stepped Rashford to strike an extraordinary right-foot free-kick that swerved one way, then the other before dipping and tearing into the top corner of the goal with Caballero grasping at air. What a hit.

What a response, in fairness, by United who had appeared to be overwhelmed by Chelsea but had struck back. Chelsea attempted to respond but belief was drained. United had their win thanks to Rashford's outrageous brilliance.

Telegraph.co.uk

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