Wolverhampton Wanderers dealt a big blow to Manchester United’s top four hopes as they beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 2-1 at Molineux on Tuesday evening.
Solskjaer made six changes to the side that claimed a fortuitous victory over Watford on Saturday, with Marcus Rashford and Anders Herrera ruled out through injury, while Anthony Martial was only fit enough for the bench.
United’s reward for a lightning start was a deserved opener in the 13th-minute when Scott McTominay, a replacement for Herrera, struck a 25-yard shot which skidded across the wet surface and nestled into the net.
Scott McTominay of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux on April 02, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United KingdomGetty Images
The visitors’ joy was short-lived, however, as Wolves bagged an equaliser in the 25th-minute following a mistake in the United midfield. Fred lost possession, allowing Raul Jimenez to release Diogo Jota who kept his cool to level the scores.
Suddenly, the momentum was with Wolves and after the restart Ashley Young was sent off for a second yellow card – only five minutes after his earlier offence.
United initially coped well with the numerical disadvantage but in the 78th-minute they failed to deal with Jonny Castro’s cross from the left flank and in a goalmouth scramble the ball bounced off Chris Smalling and into the net.
Wolverhampton Manchester United–Getty Images
Wolves laid siege to the United goal in search of a killer third goal, as Ivan Cavaleiro struck the crossbar, but Nuno Espirito Santo had to settle for just the 2-1 victory – for the second time in 17 days having knocked United out of the FA Cup.
The results means Manchester United remain fifth, behind fourth-placed Tottenham on goal difference having played a game more. Wolves remain seventh and will go into Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Watford in great spirit.