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Manchester United beat Brentford with dramatic McTominay injury-time double

Scott McTominay celebrates late win over Brentford on Saturday.

Scott McTominay celebrates late win over Brentford on Saturday.

Scott McTominay scored twice in stoppage time as Manchester United came from behind to record a sensational Premier League victory against Brentford at Old Trafford.

United were staring at a third successive home league loss for the first time since 1977 thanks to Mathias Jensen’s first-half effort.

McTominay was only brought on with three minutes remaining as manager Erik ten Hag desperately searched for salvation – and the Scot duly provided it.

He showed excellent control before firing home when Kristoffer Ajer scuffed a clearance inside his own box for the first.

Then, after Anthony Martial had a low shot saved by Thomas Strakosha, McTominay reacted quickest to a Harry Maguire flick-on and applied the priceless finish.

The home fans celebrated long after the final whistle as their team headed round on a lap of honour, which was probably a bit extreme but, given the circumstances, totally understandable.

Significant win or papering over the cracks?

It is impossible to underestimate what McTominay’s double will do for morale around United during the international break.

Like Maguire, the midfielder could have left Old Trafford in the summer, so it is ironic the pair combined to salvage what had been set to be a desperate situation for Ten Hag.

Averting that 1977 statistic and, more pertinently, three home defeats in a week against opposition most observers would expect them to dismiss relatively comfortably, provides breathing space from a suffocating situation.

But once the sugar rush of the euphoria has subsided, Ten Hag will know he has a lot of work to do to even make United into the coherent outfit he turned them into last season.

There is no-one who epitomises United’s malaise more than Marcus Rashford.

Although it was after the World Cup he really went on the surge that took him to 30 goals last season, he had scored five by this point last term. Now he is stuck on the single effort he scored against Arsenal on 3 September.

Rashford’s body language is poor. At one point he tried to control a high punt out of the Brentford area, only for the ball to bounce under his foot and out for a throw, which he took himself and then ambled towards the area.

When he did chase back to play a pass to Onana as Brentford countered from a United corner, Rashford was ponderous as he then made his way forward again, even though the hosts transitioned the ball into attack fairly quickly.

He did draw a low save out of Brentford’s Premier League debutant keeper Thomas Strakosha as the opening period was drawing to a close but he also sent a speculative effort drifting well wide 10 minutes into the second half.

It was all so far removed from the Rashford he is when at his dangerous best, using his pace to unsettle even the best defences, and it was no surprise when he was taken off with barely an hour gone as Ten Hag chased the game.

As it turned out, United had to wait for another 24 minutes for the substitution that made the difference.

Brentford’s pain

Even as the Brentford fans celebrated Jensen giving them the lead, they would have been wary.

Going into the game, they had dropped more points from winning positions than any other top-flight team.

Yet, until the mad ending, they actually looked more like adding to their lead than conceding an equaliser.

Neal Maupay and Christian Norgaard both had efforts touched over by United keeper Andre Onana, who had hardly covered himself in glory with the Brentford goal.

It was actually a catalogue of defensive errors that started with Casemiro gifting possession to Brentford deep inside his own half when he was under no pressure.

The Brazilian then missed a rescuing tackle before Victor Lindelof’s attempted clearance went straight to a visiting player inside the United box. Jensen applied the low finish, which Onana failed to keep out.

For so long, it looked like being enough to secure Brentford their first Old Trafford win since 1937. McTominay had other ideas.

 

 

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