Sports Desk, Jan 3 (EFE).- The Wolverhampton Wanderers put a halt to Manchester United’s recent run of success with a 1-0 victory Monday evening at Old Trafford, earning the three points thanks to another strong defensive effort and a late goal by Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho.
The Wolves came into this Matchday 21 contest having scored just 13 goals this Premier League season, but they dominated the opening half due to strong midfield play by Ruben Neves and Moutinho and made constant forays into the opposing penalty box.
Their first golden opportunity came on a Nelson Semedo attempt from outside the penalty box that forced net minder David De Gea to make an outstanding save in the 19th minute.
The Wolves then continued to let their punchless opponents off the hook when Mexican forward Raul Jimenez failed to convert a clear chance on a header in minute 35.
The complexion of the match changed after Bruno Fernandes came on as a substitute for the Red Devils at the one-hour mark, with the home side controlling possession and the visitors waiting for chances on the counter-attack.
The Portuguese midfielder also accounted for one of Man United’s best scoring opportunities of the contest – a shot from inside the area in the 68th minute that clanked off the crossbar.
The visitors were able to weather that storm though and then nearly struck at the other end on a free kick by Moroccan defender Romain Saiss that ricocheted off the crossbar.
The pace of play slowed down the final stretch and the match seemed headed for a scoreless draw, but Moutinho gave the Wolves their first away victory over Manchester United since 1980 when he pounced on a deflection and sent a shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner in the 82nd minute.
The Red Devils had one last chance to knot the contest in the waning seconds, but Sa’s remarkable save of a Fernandes free kick kept the hosts off the scoreboard.
“It’s one more victory. It’s a lovely stadium, a place with a lot of history, but the most important thing is the way we played this game against this team. One more time, we prepared very well for the game, I gave a lot of confidence to my players to come to play in our way,” Wolves head coach Bruno Lage was quoted as saying afterward on the team’s website.
The Wolves (28 points) leapfrogged Brighton & Hove Albion into eighth place in the Premier League with the win, while Man United remained in seventh place with 31 points after suffering their first loss in six games under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
Wolverhampton have allowed just 14 goals this Premier League season, the second fewest after first-place Manchester City (13 goals). Manchester United are three points behind fifth-place West Ham United, who currently are in position to claim a spot in the 2022-2023 Europa League group stage. EFE