Rashford penalty gives United edge over Leicester
Marcus Rashford put the disappointment of a previous penalty miss behind him by scoring from the spot to give Manchester United a much-needed 1-0 win over Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday.
But manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left with more unanswered questions about his team’s prospects as Rashford’s first-half penalty secured just his team’s second win of the campaign.
Beaten on their last Old Trafford outing by Crystal Palace, there was little margin for error for United, or £80 million ($100million) defender Harry Maguire who was facing his former club for the first time since his summer move.
Magure was booed and subjected to insulting chants from his former club’s supporters throughout the 90 minutes.
There were still long, perplexing periods where United were distinctly second best and outplayed by a Leicester side who started the day in third place.
At least the United manager did not face a further inquisition over penalties after the chaotic start his team has made in that department.
Penalties have dominated much of the news agenda around United in the early stages of the campaign, with Paul Pogba and Rashford both guilty of costly misses that cost their team points against Wolves and Palace.
So when the Reds won their fourth spot kick in five games this season following a push by Caglar Soyuncu on Rashford after six minutes, all eyes were on the taker’s identity.
Pogba, however, was not a candidate for penalty responsibilities, having missed the game with an ankle injury, paving the way for Rashford, who failed from the spot in United’s last home fixture against Palace, with the duty.
The England forward showed admirable poise and composure by placing a right-footed kick into the bottom corner of the Leicester goal and sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.
It was an ideal start for Solskjaer’s side, having endured an uncomfortable international break in which much had been made of their underwhelming start to the campaign.
That pressure had increased, with French pair Pogba and Anthony Martial unavailable for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ side due to injury.
United went close to breaking the deadlock within two minutes.
They were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Leicester area, which Andreas Pereira sent flying towards the top corner, forcing Schmeichel into an important and athletic stop.
But there was an almost immediate reminder of how vulnerable United’s defence has looked.
A long clearance from Schmeichel was allowed to bounce twice before James Maddison out-muscled Victor Lindelof and produced a shot which David de Gea did well to block.
The United goalkeeper was equally alert just before the half-hour when he tipped over a brilliant left-footed 25-yard volley from England defender Ben Chilwell following a half-cleared corner.
But either side of half-time saw Leicester start to take control of the game, with Youri Tielemans dominating midfield and Maddison becoming more influential.
The England squad man almost equalised, after 55 minutes, with a right-foot free-kick which sailed just wide of the home goal as United became increasingly bogged down.
There were chances on the counter-attack for Solskjaer’s side Daniel James shooting over from 20 yards and Juan Mata being denied by Schmeichel — while Rashford’s 83rd minute free-kick struck the City bar.
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