Man United 0 Wolves 1 (Moutinho 82)
Wolves enjoyed a special beginning to 2022 with a historic victory at Old Trafford. A moment of magic from Joao Moutinho earned Wolves a first away victory over Manchester United since 1980 and was a fitting way to cap one of the most complete performances under Bruno Lage.
The old gold had been the better side in the opening period, but their raucous away end had to wait until eight minutes from time to savour the moment which won the points, as Moutinho picked his spot from the edge of the box and fired in the bottom corner, beyond the desperate dive of David De Gea.
That was one a number of opportunities which fell the way of the away team in Manchester. Daniel Podence twice came close during a busy first period, while Ruben Neves brought the best out of De Gea and Romain Saiss hit the woodwork, before Moutinho struck the decision blow.
For large parts, the first-half belonged to Wolves, despite Lage’s side going unrewarded for their bright showing. The lively Podence was causing all kinds of problems and had two near post efforts saved by De Gea in the United goal – two of a number of Wolves chances.
Either side of those efforts, Neves almost lodged his yearly Goal of the Season contender, chipping up a cleared corner and firing a half-volley towards the top corner, forcing De Gea to tip over at full-stretch, with the Stretford End holding its breath.
United did have sightings of their own, however. Mason Greenwood led a counter attack for the hosts but, after not slipping in Cristiano Ronaldo, was denied by Conor Coady’s block. Then the youngster was left frustrated as Edinson Cavani went himself and fired over from the edge of the box.
Raul Jimenez was naturally involved at time for the visitors, firing over from the edge of the box on his left foot, and heading wide at the near post, although the offside flag would have denied him anyway. Then, with the break approach, Francisco Trincao almost squeezed an effort in at the near post, but instead it was stalemate at the interval.
Half-time | Man United 0-0 Wolves
Proceedings were much more even after the break, and after Nelson Semedo had an effort blocked behind, United twice thought they’d score. First, substitute Bruno Fernandes struck the crossbar from a Nemanja Matic cut back, before Ronaldo headed in from a free-kick, but was denied by the offside flag.
The next chance also hit the woodwork, but this time courtesy of Wolves. Saiss beat the wall impressively with his free-kick, but not the crossbar, as Wolves edged closer to the opener. And that arrived on 82 minutes as Traore’s cross was headed as far as Moutinho, who fired across himself and into the bottom corner to spark wild scenes in the away end.
From there, Wolves managed the game well, but there was time for one more heroic intervention, this time from Jose Sa, who’d had a quiet night. He was required from the last kick of the game, as Fernandes’ free-kick was heading into the top corner, before he flew across goal to parry to safety and win his side the game.
Full-time | Man United 0-1 Wolves
Man United | de Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Jones, Shaw, Matic, McTominay, Sancho (Rashford 75), Greenwood (Fernandes 60), Cavani, Ronaldo.
Unused subs | Henderson, Dalot, Telles, van de Beek, Fred, Lingard, Elanga.
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal, Neves, Moutinho, Trincao (Traore 66), Podence, Jimenez (Silva 81).
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Bueno, Cundle, Dendoncker, Jordao.