MASON’S A TURNING UP
THE natural order of sport has taken a tumble, so instead of Test cricket and Wimbledon tennis the first Saturday of July served up a cascade of spectacular goals at the football. Several of them were quite stunning, including two powerhouse shots from 18-year-old Mason Greenwood, the latest young sensation of Manchester United. It was a delightful match all round and confirmation of where these two entertaining teams are headed – United back towards the Champions League and Bournemouth to relegation after five years in the top flight.
When they play like this, it seems a pity The Cherries are departing.they try to play with style and for a while yesterday they gave United a scare.
Eddie Howe’s team had been cast as hapless victims before this match, a bunch of no-hopers doomed to relegation. So, naturally, they had the temerity to start well and score first after 15 minutes. It was a shock to the TV pundits and certainly to the complacent United defenders.
Junior Stanislas collected a ball from the right on the touchline, and with a cheeky nutmeg pushed the ball through the legs of United captain Harry Maguire before squeezing a shot past goalkeeper David De Gea at his near post from the tightest of angles. Watching that, it was a surprise to learn it was a first league goal of the season for Stanislas. Watching it back will be embarrassing for United’s defenders.
There is never a bad time to score a goal but certainly there was a sense that this one stirred the home side from their early slumbers. Maguire, in particular, had looked like he was on a stroll in the park.
The spark for United’s response was midfielder Bruno Fernandes, the conductor of their orchestral manoeuvres around a cavernously empty Old Trafford.
Fernandes was forever demanding the ball, searching for an opening, encouraging slickness of thinking and deed from his team-mates.
A succession of long-range shots were met by brave blocks from Bournemouth defenders, vainly trying to protect their early advantage, while goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale made a flying save to tip away a free-kick from Marcus
Rashford. United’s equaliser arrived on the half-hour, when Fernandes found a precision pass that gave Mason Greenwood time and space to rifle a powerful shot into goal.
A few minutes later they were ahead, from a penalty conceded by a dozy handball from Bournemouth defender Adam Smith.
It was drilled home by Rashford for his first goal since the Premier League restart.
By half-time it was 3-1 for
United, with a delicious curling shot from Anthony Martial that brushed the bar as it flew home.
Game over? Well, nobody told Bournemouth that, and they came out strongly in a curious and contentious start to the second half.
VAR decided there had been a handball by substitute Eric Bailly on