Rasmus Hojlund scored his first Premier League goal as Manchester United fought back from two goals down to record a sensational victory in a thrilling Boxing Day encounter with Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
In United’s first game since Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25% purchase of the club, and with future director and current Ineos head of sport Sir Dave Brailsford in the directors’ box, Erik ten Hag’s side produced one of those ‘back-from-the-dead’ endings for which they are so famed.
After John McGinn and Leander Dendoncker had given Villa a deserved half-time advantage, United rallied after the interval and refused to let their heads drop even after Alejandro Garnacho had a goal disallowed by VAR for a marginal offside decision.
It was the 19-year-old Argentine who led the fightback, scoring twice in a game for the first time in his career to turn the game on its head.
Villa did their best to stem the wave of home attacks.
But, just as Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest discovered here in August, United retain some of the old doggedness from the Sir Alex Ferguson days.
And, for the home fans at least, there could be no more fitting scorer than Hojlund, who reacted quickest and rammed the ball home after Bruno Fernandes’ corner had struck McGinn and bounced free inside a packed penalty area.
The relief for Hojlund and his team-mates was clear to see, with goalkeeper Andre Onana racing the full length of the pitch to join in the celebrations as Ten Hag bounced in delight, his fists clenched in evident celebration.