Bruno Fernandes’s exquisite volley propels Manchester United to a much-needed 1-0 win over Burnley, ending the Red Devils’ three-game losing run.
Manchester United brought an end to their miserable three-game losing run with a nervy 1-0 Premier League win over newly-promoted Burnley at Turf Moor.
A scorcher of a volley from Bruno Fernandes relieved some of the pressure on Erik ten Hag’s shoulders, while leaving Vincent Kompany’s side bottom of the table and still searching for their first win, having failed to convert their plentiful periods of possession into any meaningful chances.
Hannibal Mejbri, Scott McTominay and Jonny Evans – making his first Premier League start for Manchester United since 2015 – were among those offered chances to impress in Ten Hag’s side, while Burnley boss Kompany called upon Aaron Ramsey to replace the suspended Lyle Foster.
An open start to the game saw gilt-edged chances at both ends of the field, as James Trafford beat away a Fernandes strike in the seventh minute before the under-fire Andre Onana sprung himself across goal to divert Zeki Amdouni’s header behind three minutes later.
The Burnley forward had the beating of the Cameroonian in the 17th minute following a deft through ball from Ramsey, but the Swiss striker – who had just about kept himself onside – struck the post as he tried to slide the ball into the far corner.
Kompany was forced into an attacking change with 20 minutes gone, as Johann Berg Gudmundsson came off to be replaced by Mike Tresor, and Man United would ostensibly take advantage of the Clarets’ disrupted momentum through an unlikely source.
In the 26th minute, Evans rose highest to meet a Sergio Reguilon corner and nod his side into the lead, but Rasmus Hojlund was obstructing Trafford from an offside position, and referee Tony Harrington denied the centre-back a dream goal following a check of the monitor.
Evans’s disallowed goal added to the list of VAR decisions to have gone against Man United already this season, and Burnley continued to make inroads high up the field, but Onana was only forced into one more meaningful save – comfortably collecting Ramsey’s curling effort from 20 yards in the 42nd minute.
Burnley looked the more likely to score as the half drew to a close, but they were hit with a sucker punch in the 45th minute, as Evans sent a long ball over the top for Fernandes to chase, and the Red Devils captain proceeded to channel his inner Robin van Persie; flashing a sensational volley low across Trafford’s goal and into the bottom corner.
Kompany’s side could count themselves unfortunate to be heading into the break a goal behind, but the hosts showed little in the way of a response, only testing the gloves of Onana with a couple of crosses and thanking their lucky stars when Ameen Al-Dakhil made a goal-saving intervention to deny Hojlund his first Premier League goal from Marcus Rashford’s header to the back stick.
Man United were happy to give up the lion’s share of possession to the toothless Clarets, who made a raft of attacking changes to try to breach a conservative Red Devils team, and one of those substitutes – Sander Berge – squandered a good chance in the 82nd minute, heading over the bar as Onana came for a corner and missed.
Fernandes came close to doubling the visitors’ lead in the second minute of added time with an improvised acrobatic attempt, but Trafford scrambled across to push the Portuguese’s volley away, while Benson Manuel sent one final speculative effort into the grateful arms of Onana seconds before the final whistle sounded.
Now with three wins to their name this term, the Red Devils have shot up five spots to eighth ahead of the start of their EFL Cup defence – which comes at home to Crystal Palace on Tuesday – while 20th-placed Burnley travel to Salford City for their third-round battle in three days’ time.
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