Manchester United humbled by Wolves in Rangnick’s first EPL loss


Portuguese forward João Moutinho's 82nd-minute goal has earned Wolverhampton Wanderers a stunning first league win at Old Trafford since 1980.

Key points:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo's second stint as United captain ended in a historic loss
  • Injuries and illness forced Ralf Rangnick to call up outcast defender Phil Jones after more than 700 days on the sidelines
  • Wolves move up to eighth spot while United are one spot above them, four points off Arsenal in fourth

The loss was the first for Manchester United since they sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November and replaced him with interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

The Midlands team thoroughly deserved victory, dominating large parts of the match and having twice as many shots as a United team that looked woefully short of confidence.

The result was a disappointment for Moutinho's compatriot, Cristiano Ronaldo, who captained United for the second time in a Premier League game. The previous occasion was on March 19, 2008, in a 2-0 home win over Bolton.

In another throwback, United also included previously outcast centre back Phil Jones in their match-day squad. It was the 29-year-old's first appearance for more than 700 days following two years of battling against injuries.

The former England international had only made three appearances for the second team but Rangnick said, "since all other three centre backs [are] out, he was the logical choice".

Jones had one of the few decent United performances, but was partly at fault for Wolves' goal.

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Wolves had United on the back foot early with goalkeeper David De Gea forced to deny Daniel Podence before athletically saving a trademark Rúben Neves volley.

Jones made two key interceptions as the visitors dominated the half without scoring, despite 15 shots.

Bruno Lage's team remained the most likely side after the break until United introduced Bruno Fernandes on the hour.

The Portuguese should have scored in the 67th minute but lashed a shot against the bar from Nemanja Matić's cut-back.

With a goalless draw looming, Wolves struck. Moutinho drilled a 20-yard shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the box after Jones had headed Adama Traore's cross towards him.

It was only Wolves' 14th goal in their 19 league games, but just their eighth clean sheet, with goalkeeper Jose Sa maintaining that record with a flying 95th-minute save from a Fernandes free-kick.

The victory lifts Wolves up to eighth, one place behind United who are now four points off the top four with only one game left in hand.

AAP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news



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