Teen footballer Mason Greenwood’s first goal as a senior ensured that Manchester United got a strong start to their Europa League battle against Astana at the Old Trafford stadium.
The 17 year old player will likely never forget that night. With the game’s Kazakhstanian visitors aiming to hold out for a draw, he managed to pull off an amazing finish in front of Stretford End, becoming Man United’s youngest European scorer.
Earlier, Brazilian midfielder Fred hit the bar from a distance of 25 yards before managing a free-kick save. English forward Marcus Rashford wasted a slew of chances against the European team, who failed to register a shot on target.
Youngest European Scorer
With that said, it wasn’t long before frustration became joy as Greenwood scored his winning goal. The teenage star has been with United since he was just 6 years old, and is still technically not old enough to legally play bingo Australia games!
Even after Greenwood scored his goal, the rest of the Manchester United team continued to waste their chances. Diogo Dalot came over from close range after Nenad Eric kept out an attempt from Jesse Lingard. In the other game in Group L, AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade drew 2-2.
The return to the Europa League stage was not a perfect one for United by any means. This was their first appearance in the contest since Ajax was defeated in the Stockholm finals in 2017 by goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.
Naturally, United would much rather be competing with Europe’s top teams in the Champions League. However, the Europa League does at least offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an opportunity to give his younger players a European experience under the bright lights of Old Trafford.
Man. U Falters Against Kazakhstan
United, pitted against the 5-time Kazakhstan Premier League champs, fielded their youngest side in a European football game since late 2012. Greenwood was one of 6 participants younger than 21 who started. Having been raised in United’s academy, the Bradford-based forward has already given the club’s fans a good idea of his talents in pre-season games when he scored against Leeds over in Australia.
Amid the pressure of a competitive European tournament, he demonstrated great maturity as he cut the ball back using his right foot after holding off a rival. He then managed a slow shot directly through the keeper’s legs. This goal was the highlight of an otherwise mediocre night for his team, who seemed less than convincing against a team that had beaten qualifying to end up at the group stage.
In the meantime, Greenwood does not turn 18 for another few weeks, but many feels that he deserves a man-of-the-match award for his astounding finish. Manchester United manager Solskjaer says that the team ‘made it hard for themselves’, but is pleased that they scored 3 points nonetheless. On Mason’s performance, he called the young player one of the best finishers on the team, and says that he is now definitely ready to bring more glory to his club’s ranks.