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17-year-old on target as Man United begin Europa League campaign with a win

It was a memorable night for Mason Greenwood against Astana.

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood (third left) celebrates scoring.
Manchester United's Mason Greenwood (third left) celebrates scoring.
Image: Martin Rickett

TEENAGER MASON GREENWOOD rescued a much-changed Manchester United from an embarrassing start to their Europa League campaign with the only goal to beat Kazakh champions Astana 1-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday.

At just 17, Greenwood became the youngest goalscorer for United in European competition with a composed finish under Nenad Eric 17 minutes from time.

Victory justified Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to make nine changes from Saturday’s Premier League win over Leicester with a host of youngsters given their chance to impress.

Greenwood was joined in the starting line-up by Angel Gomes, Axel Tuanzebe and Tahith Chong.

The visitors had travelled nearly 6,000 kilometres to the Theatre of Dreams and could have held out for a famous point thanks to Eric’s heroics in goal.

Brazilian midfielder Fred saw an early effort come back off the bar as United started strongly and Eric made two brilliant saves to deny Marcus Rashford.

Rashford made his name in similar circumstances during an injury crisis for Louis van Gaal in the Europa League in 2016 with a double against Danish club Midtjylland.

And Solskjaer is hoping United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League can at least come to some good with the Norwegian keen to promote youngsters in Europe’s second tier competition this season.

Solskjaer has been glowing in his praise of Greenwood’s poise in front of goal and he repaid his manager’s faith by twisting and turning inside the area before slotting in at the near post to end Astana’s resistence.

Results from the opening round of group stage matches in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday:

Group A

APOEL Nicosia (CYP) 3 (Pavlovic 54, 58, De Vincenti 56-pen) Dudelange (LUX) 4 (Sinani 36, 83, Bernier 51, Stolz 72)

Qarabag (AZE) 0 Sevilla (ESP) 3 (Hernandez 62, Munir 78, Torres 85)

Group B

Copenhagen (DEN) 1 (Santos 50) Lugano (SUI) 0

Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 1 (Buyalskiy 84) Malmo (SWE) 0

Group C

Basel (SUI) 5 (Bua 9, 40, Zuffi 53, Vilhena 55-og, Okafor 79) Krasnodar (RUS) 0

Getafe (ESP) 1 (Angel 18) Trabzonspor (TUR) 0 

Group D

LASK Linz (AUT) 1 (Holland 45+3) Rosenborg (NOR) 0

PSV Eindhoven (NED) 3 (Malen 20, Coates 25-og, Baumgartl 48) Sporting Lisbon (POR) 2 (Fernandes 39-pen, Mendes 82)

Group E

CFR Cluj (ROM) 2 (Deac 41-pen, Omrani 75) Lazio (ITA) 1 (Bastos 25)

Rennes (FRA) 1 (Niang 38-pen) Celtic (SCO) 1 (Christie 59-pen)

Group F

Standard Liege 2 (Hanin 66-og, Mpoku 90+1) Vitoria Guimaraes (POR) 0

Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 0 Arsenal (ENG) 3 (Willock 38, Saka 85, Aubameyang 88)

Group G

Rangers (SCO) 1 (Ojo 24) Feyenoord (NED) 0

Porto (POR) 2 (Soares 8, 29) Young Boys (SUI) 1 (Nsame 15-pen)

Group H

Espanyol (ESP) 1 (Vargas 60) Ferencvaros (HUN) 1 (Javi Lopez 10-og)

Ludogorets (BUL) 5 (Wanderson 48, Lukoki 50, Keseru 52, 68, 73-pen) CSKA Moscow (RUS) 1 (Diveev 11)

Group I

Wolfsburg (GER) 3 (Arnold 20, Mehmedi 24, Brekalo 67) Olexandriya (UKR) 1 (Banada 66)

Gent (BEL) 3 (David 2, 43, Perrin 64-og) Saint-Etienne (FRA) 2 (Khazri 38, Kaminski 75-og)

Group J

Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) 0 Wolfsberg (AUT) 4 (Weissman 13, Leitgeb 31, 68, Ritzmaier 41)

Roma (ITA) 4 (Caicara 42-og, Dzeko 58, Zaniolo 71, Kluivert 90+3) Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR) 0

Group K

Wolverhampton Wanderers (ENG) 0 Braga (POR) 1 (Horta 71)

Slovan Bratislava (SVK) 4 (Sporar 14, 58, Ljubicic 90+3, Rharsalla 90+4) Besiktas (TUR) 2 (Ljajic 29-pen, Bozhikov 45+1-og)

Group L

Manchester United (ENG) 1 (Greenwood 73) Astana (KAZ) 0

Partizan Belgrade (SRB) 2 (Natcho 42-pen, 61) AZ Alkmaar (NED) 2 (Stengs 13, Boadu 67)

- © AFP, 2019

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Paul Fennessy

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