Man Utd 1-0 Leicester: Marcus Rashford penalty gives United much-needed victory
Highlights and report as Manchester United move up to fourth with second win of the season
Last Updated: 14/09/19 11:49pm
Marcus Rashford's early penalty gave Manchester United a much-needed 1-0 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford.
Having missed two penalties in their first four games, United took the lead through Rashford's spot-kick (8) after Caglar Soyuncu had brought the England man down.
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Leicester had their chances before and after the goal; James Maddison forced a fine save from David de Gea and also lashed a free kick inches wide later in the game, but United held firm and could have even doubled their lead as Rashford hit the upright with a fine set piece.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Lindelof (7), Maguire (7), Young (7), Matic (6), McTominay (7), Pereira (7), Mata (6), James (7), Rashford (7)
Subs: Fred (6), Chong (6), Tuanzebe (NA)
:Leicester: Schmeichel (5), Pereira (6), Soyuncu (4), Evans (6), Chilwell (5), Choudhury (5), Ndidi (5), Maddison (6) Tielemans (5), Gray (5), Vardy (5)
Subs: Perez (5), Barnes (6)
Man of the match: Scott McTominay
The result means Leicester lose their unbeaten record, while United overtake the Foxes into the top four after registering just their second win of the campaign.
How United defied the doubts
There were fears in the lead-up to the game that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have a depleted side, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka passed a late fitness test, meaning only one change from the draw at Southampton.
Andreas Pereira stung the hands of Kasper Schmeichel with an early free kick, before a bread-and-butter long ball almost caught United out, bouncing over Victor Lindelof to Maddison, who forced De Gea into a good save with his feet.
United took the lead as Turkish defender Soyuncu carelessly and unfairly got his body in the way of Rashford in the penalty area, allowing Rashford himself to slot low into the bottom corner, a welcome penalty conversion after United missed against both Wolves and Crystal Palace.
Wan-Bissaka started after a late fitness test, with an unchanged back four. Nemanja Matic came in for the injured Pogba, and Mata started with Pereira in a midfield behind Rashford.
Leicester made two changes from the 3-1 win over Bournemouth a fortnight ago; Albrighton and Barnes made way for Hamza Choudhury and Demarai Gray.
The chaos then settled down as most of the play reverted to midfield, bar a Ben Chilwell half-volley tipped over by De Gea, with United winning the physical battle in midfield.
The second half continued in the same tone, with both sides only going close with long-range efforts. First, Maddison struck a free kick just high and wide of De Gea's goal, while Rashford hit the upright with a superb 30-yard set piece.
Leicester did pile on the pressure in the closing stages, with Wilfred Ndidi lashing half-a-yard wide in stoppage time, but United's support stuck with their side and got their reward.
In a game where many had predicted United to slip up, the relief was tangible at the final whistle, the win providing a building block ahead of a busy September with the return of European football.
What the managers said
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "Let's not kid ourselves, we didn't play a great game. The first 25 minutes were fantastic, but we gradually lost control. Then towards the end we were in control.
"Today was probably the first time this season, apart from spells against Chelsea, where we've had to defend as a team for longer periods, so the clean sheet is pleasing. The first 20 minutes was just fantastic to watch if you're a neutral.
"It didn't look like [Harry Maguire] missed them too much, he did really well, stuck his head in, and was so calm on the ball, which we needed in the second half."
Brendan Rodgers: "It was a very close game, especially how we played in the second half. We were nice and aggressive and looked like we might get something. I think by the end we were unfortunate not to get something."
Pundits' view: An important win
Watching on Soccer Saturday, Matt Le Tissier praised Harry Maguire's performance for Manchester United, and said Leicester lacked a bite, despite claiming 58 per cent of possession.
"For all of their possession, keeping United penned in their own half, there wasn't that clear chance for Leicester. Maguire was outstanding today, Jamie Vardy was kept pretty quiet, and it's not often you can say that. Along with Lindelof, both played really well. The full-backs did a decent job as well.
"It was an important win today, and not just because of the forthcoming fixtures, but because everyone gave Leicester a really big chance. It wasn't a comprehensive victory, but United ground it out. They showed a character to see out the result."
- Manchester United registered only their second Premier League win in their last 10 matches in the competition (W2 D4 L4).
- United have been awarded five more penalties than any other Premier League team since the start of last season (16), scoring 11 of those.
- United are unbeaten in their last 134 home Premier League games when they've scored first (W123 D11 L0).
Manchester United host Astana in their first Europa League group stage clash on Thursday at 8pm, before going to West Ham on Super Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League. Leicester host Tottenham on Saturday at 12.30pm in the Premier League.