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Other SportsLuton Town 1-2 Manchester United: Hojlund double earns nervy win for Red...

Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United: Hojlund double earns nervy win for Red Devils

Rasmus Hojlund scored twice as Manchester United continued their bid for Champions League qualification with a nervy 2-1 win over Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Sunday.

Hojlund only needed 37 seconds to make it six successive Premier League games with a goal, then he deflected Alejandro Garnacho’s shot in to make it a seven-minute brace in a stunning start for United.

However, Rob Edwards’ plucky Hatters refused to lie down and got back into the game through Carlton Morris’ header before putting a ragged United team under sustained pressure.

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They were enraged by David Coote’s failure to issue Casemiro with what should have been a second yellow card, and they fell just short of a memorable fightback as Ross Barkley headed against the woodwork in second-half stoppage time.

Having won four straight league games, Erik ten Hag’s men are now within five points of the top four, while Luton remain one point clear of 18th-placed Everton, who host Crystal Palace on Monday.

A glaring error from Amari’i Bell saw Hojlund continue his hot streak almost straight from kick-off. Bell failed to deal with a routine ball upfield, allowing Hojlund to race through on goal, round Thomas Kaminski and tap into an empty net.

Hojlund’s quickfire second was even more fortuitous. A United corner was only cleared as far as Garnacho, whose volley struck Hojlund’s chest to wrong-foot Kaminski.

However, Luton halved the arrears seven minutes later as former United midfielder Tahith Chong saw his shot deflect into the air, and Andre Onana was far too weak as Morris nodded the loose ball in.

United suddenly came under fierce pressure and they were incredibly fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men when Casemiro clattered Barkley from behind, having already been booked.

Alfie Doughty steered a shot narrowly wide of the bottom-left corner as United continued to creak, and Ten Hag understandably withdrew Casemiro at half-time following his lucky escape.

Luton continued to press after the restart, but tempting crosses from Doughty and Chong went without a decisive touch before United began to improve. Bruno Fernandes raced clear to round Kaminski, but Albert Sambi Lokonga got back to make a goal-saving block.

Garnacho then squandered an almost identical chance shortly after the hour mark, trying to beat Kaminski twice when clean through, only for the goalkeeper to smother his eventual shot.

Fernandes sent a low drive fizzing wide as United missed yet another chance to kill the contest, but Luton were unable to make them pay, with Barkley clipping the crossbar with a glancing header in the last of four minutes of stoppage time.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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