Hojlund makes Premier League history as Man Utd hold off Luton

AFP , Sunday 18 Feb 2024

Rasmus Hojlund made Premier League history as the Manchester United striker's double ensured his side survived a scare from lowly Luton in their 2-1 win on Sunday.

Manchester United s Rasmus Hojlund, front, duels for the ball with Luton Town s Gabriel Osho during the English Premier League soccer match between Luton Town and Manchester United at Kenilworth Road, in Luton, England. Photo: AP


Hojlund became the youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League games after netting twice in the first seven minutes at Kenilworth Road.

At 21 years 14 days old, Hojlund surpassed Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock's previous record set when he was 21 years 272 days old.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored in 10 successive United top-flight outings in 2003 before Leicester's Jamie Vardy beat his Premier league record with 11 in a row in 2015.

After failing to score in his first 14 Premier League appearances following his August move from Atalanta, Hojlund has scored eight times in his last eight games in all competitions.

Hojlund's brace should have put United in complete control, but Luton fought back impressively as Carlton Morris quickly reduced the deficit.

Erik ten Hag's side were under seige for spells and wasted several chances to kill off fourth-bottom Luton in a tense finale.

Sixth placed United's fourth consecutive league victory moved them within five points of fourth placed Aston Villa in the race to qualify for next season's Champions League.

For long periods during a difficult season, that target has seemed beyond United, but Hojlund's prolific form has given them renewed hope.

With just 37 seconds gone, Hojlund intercepted Amari'i Bell's dreadful back pass, rounded keeper Thomas Kaminski and slotted into the empty net.

United's fastest league goal this season was followed by Hojlund's second in the seventh minute.

When Alejandro Garnacho smashed a volley towards goal from a United corner, the strike hit Hojlund's chest and deflected into the net.

Kaminski saved well from Marcus Rashford, who curled narrowly wide moments later as United looked set to run riot.

United hold on

But Morris gave Luton an unexpected lifeline in the 14th minute when the burly striker headed in from close-range after Tahith Chong's shot deflected into his path.

Since their surprise promotion last year, Luton have proved trickier-than-expected opponents for several of the Premier League's big guns.

They made life hard for United for the rest of the first half, pinning the visitors back with a aggressive, high-tempo assault.

Gabriel Osho should have equalised, but the Luton defender headed wide from a corner.

Morris went closer with a thunderous strike that whistled just wide from the edge of the area after Garnacho carelessly lost possession.

Casemiro was fortunate to avoid a red card when the already-booked United midfielder fouled Ross Barkley.

United left-back Luke Shaw was forced off just before the break with his latest injury in a season marred by fitness issues.

Luton wasted another chance to equalise as Alfie Doughty swept wide from a good position.

Ten Hag replaced Casemiro and Harry Maguire with Jonny Evans and Scott McTominay at half-time in a bid to stem Luton's momentum.

Despite the change, Luton pummelled United immediately after the break, with Cauley Woodrow and Chong both threatening an equaliser.

Rashford, Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes all squandered good opportunities to restore United's two-goal advantage.

Garnacho was especially culpable when he ran clean through on goal, but allowed Kaminski to get a touch on the ball as he tried to round him.

The United winger still had a chance to score but delayed too long and Bell was able to clear.

Fernandes shook his head in disbelief at Garnacho's blunder and the United midfielder's frustration was on display again when Kaminski repelled his own free-kick.

Luton never gave up and Barkley was inches away from spoiling Hojlund's memorable day in stoppage-time when his header grazed the bar.

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