Wolves 3-4 Manchester United, Mainoo’s superb winner
Marcus Rashford, who had been reinstated to the team, scored the opener, and Rasmus Hojlund extended the advantage before halftime. United were dominating, but the drama had only just began.
Pablo Sarabia equalised from the penalty, but another replacement, Scott McTominay, restored the two-goal lead. Max Kilman’s late goal gave Wolves hope, and Pedro Neto believed he had secured a draw until Mainoo’s superb winner.
It was a frantic game that eventually delighted the visiting Manchester United fans, albeit even the defeated home team was cheered from the pitch.
Wolves have not lost at home since being defeated by Liverpool in September, and a win would have put them ahead of United. Instead, they stay 11th in the rankings, with Ten Hag’s squad moving up to seventh.
Ten Hag stated before kickoff that this may be Manchester United’s strongest team and that things would change once the injured players returned, and they played as if that were true in the first half, scoring before Wolves had ever had a kick.
Hojlund sent the ball to Rashford, who caressed it past Jose Sa and into the corner of the net. It exuded calm and made a mockery of the drama that had engulfed him all week. United looked to gain confidence following that.
Wolves were strategically undone for the second goal, with Neto failing to monitor Luke Shaw’s strong off-the-ball run, and when Rashford slipped him in, the full-back’s low cross was scrambled into the net by Hojlund after previously ricocheting off Craig Dawson and Sa.
Hojlund almost added another when Matt Doherty’s under-hit throw to the custodian resulted in the clearing cannoning off him but going wide. After tucking the ball away late in the first half, the Danish attacker was denied a goal due to a tight offside call.
Casemiro, who was booked early on but otherwise returning control to United’s midfield, struck the back of the net with a header before halftime, but he was again offside, and it was up to O’Neil to change things at the interval. The tone of the game obviously changed.
Lisandro Martinez cleared Kilman’s header from close the line in his first Premier League appearance since September. Hojlund then passed up a wonderful opportunity following Toti Gomes’ blunder. However, the penalty allowed Wolves to go back into the game.
The decision to give the spot kick was soft, with Casemiro barely making contact with Neto, if at all. Sarabia, who came on as a replacement, converted, and the fans became involved in the game. United scored again.
McTominay didn’t even have to jump to score United’s third goal off a corner kick.
Again, the Wolves fought back. They fought valiantly in the second half to keep their long home undefeated streak intact. Kilman converted Dawson’s errant attempt, setting up a dramatic conclusion. Neto delivered after United unexpectedly permitted a counter-attack.
Andre Onana looked to be caught off guard by his shot, and Molineux went crazy, dreaming of their own improbable victory. Despite the rowdy atmosphere, Mainoo remained cool while others were not, skipping away from two and curled smoothly into the corner.
It was a goal that will be talked about for years, the pinnacle of his nascent career thus far, and a watershed moment for his manager and squad. If United had let this slide, the consequences would have been disastrous.
However, this night was memorable for the right reasons.