Sports Desk, Aug 22 (EFE).- Manchester United finally gave their fans something to cheer about with a thrilling 2-1 home victory Monday over arch-rival Liverpool, a win that featured a goal apiece by the Red Devils’ Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.
On the same night Man United’s supporters welcomed newly acquired Brazilian midfielder Casemiro at Old Trafford, the team responded in style to a pair of disconcerting losses (against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford) to start the new Premier League season.
The much-needed victory came mostly without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, who entered the match as a late substitute for Rashford in the 85th minute, shortly after Mohamed Salah had cut the lead to one by scoring on a header.
“It was a big win,” Sancho said. “Coming from last week’s performance (a 4-0 loss at Brentford) we knew that today we had to show desire and belief. I’m so glad we got the three points today.”
Man United seemed to surprise Liverpool with their pace in the early going and nearly scored at the 10-minute mark when a right-footed shot from the edge of the area by Anthony Elanga made its way past Liverpool goalie Alisson before ricocheting off the right post.
The opening goal then came six minutes later when Sancho received a pass in the area, adroitly dribbled around one defender and then slotted a shot into the left part of the goal as star defender Virgil Van Dijk stood by passively.
Liverpool’s attack, meanwhile, was largely silent until the waning moments of the first half.
But in the 41st minute Man United’s Lisandro Martinez had to intervene to prevent two potential scores, first getting in the way of a close-range attempt by Salah and then using his chest to save a botched clear by the Red Devils’ Bruno Fernandes on the goal line.
After the break, United manager Erik ten Hag sent on Anthony Martial for Elanga and the move paid dividends almost immediately when the substitute set up Rashford for a counterattack goal in the 53rd minute.
United then nearly put the game out of reach four minutes later when only a fingertip save by Alisson denied Rashford a brace.
Liverpool were still in striking distance, however, and Salah gave his team hope for a late rally when he scored on a header in the 81st minute.
With the momentum suddenly with the visitors, Ten Hag turned to his bench to preserve the lead, sending on forward Cristiano Ronaldo, defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka and midfielder Donny van de Beek.
The moves worked and United came away with their first points of the season, while Liverpool are still seeking their first win of the season after draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace and Monday’s defeat at Old Trafford.
The win was particularly satisfying for Man United and their fans because it snapped an eight-match drought without a victory against Liverpool. EFE