Manchester United 1-0 Astana
Mason Greenwood's first senior goal was the difference as Manchester United laboured past Astana at Old Trafford.
The teenager popped with the only goal 17 minutes from time to give the Red Devils three points against the side currently third in Kazakhstan’s top tier.
Greenwood, much heralded, is the first player born in the 2000s to score a senior goal for Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side enjoyed 75 per-cent possession on the night and had 20 attempts at goal compared to just three for the visiting side, but Astana were frustrating their hosts by the midpoint in the second half, seemingly on course to pick up a precious point.
A botched clearance from Astana was retrieved by Marcos Rojo, who fed substitute Jesse Lingard. The ball was worked left to right towards Fred and he picked out Greenwood on the corner of the 18-yard box.
The 17-year-old shaped to come inside on his left foot, before darting past his marker and slotting a low right-footed shot into the far corner of the net. The goal came on what was Greenwood’s second European appearance for the club.
Marcus Rashford had earlier wasted a string of chances against the European minnows, the England front man shooting tamely at Nenad Eric in the opening half with a volley.
Brazil midfielder Fred, enjoying a rare start, cannoned the top of the crossbar from 25 yards before also drawing a fine stop from the goalkeeper.
A much-changed United continued to waste chances after Greenwood’s intervention, with Diogo Dalot blasting over the top while Lingard was denied by Eric.
Partisan Belgrade and AZ Alkmaar played out a 2-2 draw in the evening’s other Group L clash, ensuring United have an early grip on the section, despite a forgettable evening in Manchester.
Enda McElhinney describes himself as a sports nut, with an interest in many. His favourite sports are being horse racing, golf and football.