Manchester United 1-0 Astana: Mason Greenwood scores first senior goal
Report as Mason Greenwood becomes the first player born in the 2000s to score a senior goal for Manchester United
Last Updated: 20/09/19 6:15am
Mason Greenwood spared Manchester United's blushes with his first goal for the club as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youthful side edged past Astana 1-0 in the Europa League at Old Trafford.
It took United, who made nine changes from the side that beat Leicester last weekend, until the 73rd minute to break the deadlock with Greenwood opening his account in fine style on just his second start for United.
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The 17-year-old showed exactly why Solskjaer called him one of the best finishers he had seen, emphatically finishing into the bottom corner to ensure United, who also handed starts to Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Axel Tuanzebe, started their European campaign with a win.
Victory sees United move to the top of Group L after matchday one following Partizan Belgrade's 2-2 draw with AZ Alkmaar.
How Greenwood saved United
United, who named their youngest European line-up since 2012, started brightly and they were inches from taking the lead in the third minute when Fred's powerful strike clipped the top of the crossbar.
Marcus Rashford could have had a hat-trick in the first-half but the England forward was denied on more than one occasion by Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric.
Manchester United player ratings
Man Utd: Romero (6), Dalot (6), Tuanzebe (7), Jones (6), Rojo (7), Matic (6), Fred (7), Chong (6), Gomes (7), Greenwood (8), Rashford (6).
Subs used: Mata (6), Lingard (6), Young (n/a)
After the break United were on the front foot again but they could not make their dominance tell as neither Greenwood or Chong could turn in Marcus Rojo's teasing cross at the far post.
Minutes later the ball fell kindly for Greenwood just outside the six-yard area but the youngster's shot was superbly blocked by the outstretched boot of Ivan Maevski as the frustration continued to build around Old Trafford.
Nine changes for United
Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong made their first Manchester United starts in the Europa League opener against Astana, with 17-year-old Mason Greenwood also included up front.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made nine alterations from the side that beat Leicester, with captain Nemanja Matic and Marcus Rashford the only players to retain a starting role.
Academy graduates Gomes, Chong, Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe are in the line-up, as is Fred having last started for United in the derby against Manchester City in April.
Solskjaer eventually turned to Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata in place of Chong and Gomes as an embarrassing result loomed, but it was Greenwood who saved the day for United 17 minutes from time.
Creating space for himself in the penalty area, he powerfully struck the ball into the bottom corner in front of the Stretford end to hand United all three points, and you could sense the relief all around Old Trafford.
What Solskjaer said
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "When you don't score in the first half from four or five massive chances, you're always wondering if it's one of those nights that you're going to get punished for being sloppy.
"But then again their keeper did well, he made some fantastic saves. I didn't feel confident that we're going to win the game until the referee blew his whistle.
"So, I don't think we played the last 10-15 minutes out well after we scored and that's something these boys need to learn as well."
Rashford: More to come from Greenwood
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford: "Me being in his shoes in the past, I know how he feels. Even more important, that was the goal that won us the game, that's what everyone should be talking about.
"He's been doing well since he joined the first team and there is 100 per cent more to come from him. I'm sure he is excited and everyone else is excited as well."
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 12 games in the Europa League (W9 D3), keeping eight clean sheets in this run.
- The average age of Manchester United's starting XI against Astana was 24 years and 145 days; their youngest in a Europa League/Champions League game since December 2012 (24y 54d v CFR Cluj).
- Manchester United handed starts to three teenagers against Astana (Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes); their most in a Europa League/Champions League game since November 2009 against Besiktas (Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda and Rafael).
Manchester United travel to West Ham on Renault Super Sunday - live from 1pm on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 2pm.
United's next Europa League tie is away to AZ Alkmaar on Matchday 2 of the Europa League on October 3; kick-off 5.55pm.