Manchester United 3-0 Leicester: Rashford bags a brace in an emphatic win
Despite takeover talk dominating the build-up, Marcus Rashford’s impressive form continued with a powerful brace, as Manchester United overcame a sluggish start to defeat Leicester with ease in the Premier League.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS company had confirmed their bids to acquire the club from the Glazer family before Sunday’s match.
However, despite the distractions, Erik ten Hag’s team was not affected, although they appeared weary after Thursday’s Europa League draw against Barcelona, and had to rely on good fortune to beat Leicester before Jadon Sancho added to Rashford’s double in a 3-0 victory.
With 16 goals in 17 matches since the World Cup, 25-year-old Marcus Rashford has surpassed his previous record of 22 goals in a single season for his boyhood club, a feat he achieved before the end of February.
Rashford confidently scored the opening goal, following some outstanding saves from David De Gea against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, denying Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho. This helped De Gea to equal Peter Schmeichel’s club record of 180 clean sheets, which set the foundation for United’s triumph.
Rashford’s second goal was awarded after a VAR review, and then substitute Jadon Sancho scored to seal the win.
The 3-0 victory keeps United’s hopes of winning the Premier League title alive and prepares them well for the crucial upcoming games, including the return leg against Barcelona and the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle.
The Foxes made a promising start and De Gea’s excellent one-handed save denied Barnes from scoring in the seventh minute. However, Harry Souttar missed a chance to score from the ensuing corner, and Victor Lindelof blocked Iheanacho’s drive after James Maddison exposed United’s poor backline.
Fred made an important block to stop a dangerous cross, and Tete attempted a shot from an acute angle. De Gea was called upon again to save United as Iheanacho headed the ball towards the ground, but the Spanish goalkeeper made a fantastic save to deny him.
Despite the game’s momentum, it was The Red Devils who scored the first goal. Marcel Sabitzer intercepted a careless pass from Wout Faes, and Bruno Fernandes played an excellent pass to set up Rashford. He had the option to pass to Alejandro Garnacho, but instead, he confidently shot low past Danny Ward.
This was Rashford’s seventh consecutive home league game with a goal, making him the first United player to achieve this feat since Wayne Rooney in 2010.
The goal was accompanied by chants protesting against the Glazer family’s ownership.
The visitors attempted to responf before the end of the first half, with Dewsbury-Hall missing the target and Maddison coming close.
United had a chance to double their lead in the second half as Diogo Dalot failed to convert Fernandes’ cross.
The first half ended with Luke Shaw’s free-kick going over the bar as the last play. Shortly after the break, the England defender crossed the ball, and Lisandro Martinez rose to meet it with a header that hit the crossbar.
Rashford was moved to the left after Sancho’s introduction at halftime. He cut inside past two defenders but shot straight at Danny Ward as United pushed for a second goal.
In the 56th minute, Rashford was played though on goal and scored, but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. The goal was given after a VAR review as the forward was adjudged to be onside.
United made it 3-0 in the 65th minute with a sweeping team move. Lisandro Martinez dispossessed Kelechi Iheanacho at the halfway line, and the ball was played onto Rashford. The in-form forward fed Sancho, who scored with an assured finish in front of the Stretford End.
Luke Shaw had a shot saved with his weaker foot, and Sancho and Weghorst had chances to score. Ten Hag made some changes with the Barcelona match in mind.
Leicester substitute Dennis Praet had an attempt blocked, while Weghorst was denied a goal late in the game. Bruno Fernandes also had a chance to score, but he clipped his shot onto the roof of the net as the match drew to a close.