Mason Greenwood came off the bench to rescue Manchester United as the teenage striker’s late equaliser secured a 1-1 draw against Everton on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell behind to Victor Lindelof’s controversial first half own-goal after United’s appeals for a foul on David de Gea were ignored by VAR.
But Greenwood, introduced in the second half, underlined his vast potential with a clinical strike 13 minutes from full-time.
The 18-year-old is the third youngest player to score a Premier League goal at Old Trafford after former United forwards Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.
Bradford-born Greenwood, a product of United’s youth academy, now has seven goals in his breakthrough season after netting twice in his previous appearance against Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday.
This was his second Premier League goal after his strike against Sheffield United in November and his rapid progress is a bright spot in a difficult season for Solskjaer’s sixth placed team.
It was fitting that Greenwood scored in the 4,000th senior match in succession in which at least one youth graduate was represented in United’s first-team or matchday squad, an extraordinary record stretching back over nine decades.
After their impressive wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in their last two league games, United’s frustrating draw reaffirmed how much improvement is still needed under Solskjaer despite Greenwood’s ascent.
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For Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s caretaker manager, this spirited performance built on the momentum from last weekend’s win over Chelsea.
Hit by injuries and illness, Everton avoided losing for the seventh time in their last eight away league matches.
Another of United’s homegrown products should have opened the scoring within 20 seconds when Fred’s burst into the Everton area ended with Jesse Lingard swivelling onto the loose ball and shooting wide from 10 yards.
Daniel James’ blistering pace was on full display when the winger raced clear for a low drive that flashed wide of the far post, prompting an angry exchange between Everton keeper Jordan Pickford and team-mate Lucas Digne about who was to blame for the break.
– Focused and combative –
Marcus Rashford tested Pickford with a swerving free-kick, but United — at their best when counter-attacking — were too often forced into slow build-up play that was easy for Everton’s well-drilled defence to stifle.
United were losing their grip and it was Everton who took the lead in bizarre fashion in the 36th minute.
When Leighton Baines sent over an inswinging corner, De Gea came and missed as he tried to punch clear, with the ball bouncing off Lindelof into his own net.
United protested that Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin had fouled De Gea by putting an arm across his face, but although the goal was reviewed by VAR it was allowed to stand.
The farcical goal meant United had failed to keep a clean-sheet in 12 consecutive top-flight matches for the first time since 1971.
United pressed harder after half-time and Luke Shaw drove forward from left-back for a stinging drive that Pickford pushed away to James, who accidently drove the rebound into Lingard’s face.
Everton were far more focused and combative than under the sacked Marco Silva.
But Solskjaer introduced Greenwood with 25 minutes left and it proved an inspired move.
Greenwood immediately had an effort saved by Pickford and, with United firmly on the front foot, the teenage starlet equalised in the 77th minute.
Picked out by James, Greenwood steadied himself on the edge of the area with a perfect first touch before drilling his low left-foot shot through a crowd of Everton defenders and past Pickford.
In a tense finale, Alex Iwobi almost won it for Everton with a dipping shot that De Gea pushed away before Ferguson hauled off substitute Moise Kean only 18 minutes after putting him on.