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Man Utd hold off Luton 2-1 as Hojlund Creates Premier League History

LUTON: With his double to clinch his team’s 2-1 victory over lowly Luton on Sunday, Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United created Premier League (EPL) history. Hojlund scored twice in the opening seven minutes at Kenilworth Road to become the youngest player to score in six straight Premier League games. Hojlund broke the previous record established by Newcastle player Joe Willock, who was 21 years 272 days old, at the age of 21 years 14 days. Prior to Jamie Vardy of Leicester breaking his Premier League record in 2015 with 11 consecutive goals, Ruud van Nistelrooy scored in 10 straight United top-flight appearances in 2003.

Following his August transfer from Atalanta, Hojlund did not score in his first 14 Premier League games. However, in his last eight games in all competitions, he has scored eight goals. His brace should have given United total control, but Carlton Morris’s fast goal cut the gap as Luton mounted an incredible comeback.

Under constant assault, Erik ten Hag’s team missed multiple opportunities to eliminate Luton, who were currently in fourth place, in a frantic finish. Ten Hag commended Hojlund’s mindset, saying, “We recruited him on his character, I knew it was strong.”He doesn’t get anxious or lose confidence, which is what you need from a Man United striker. He can truly perform under pressure. He exudes confidence, and I have no doubt that he will score much more. “I need to say thanks to my teammates and the coach because they have shown me great confidence and have continued to believe in me,” Hojlund continued. “It was frustrating that I didn’t score in the Premier League, even though I knew I could score goals as well.” With their fourth straight league win, sixth-place United closed the gap on fourth-place Aston Villa to five points in the hunt for a Champions League berth for the following season.

That goal has been unattainable for United for extended stretches during a challenging season, but Hojlund’s outstanding play has given them newfound optimism. “We are gaining ground and are back in the race. We must increase the pressure. Ten Hag stated, “Every game is a final to get closer.” In just 37 seconds, Hojlund scored the game’s first goal when he deflected a terrible back ball from Amari’i Bell, wrapped around goalie Thomas Kaminski, and found an empty net. In the seventh minute, Hojlund’s second goal of the season came after United’s fastest league goal of the season. Alejandro Garnacho struck a shot goalward from a United corner, deflecting the ball into the net off Hojlund’s chest.

United maintains grip

However, Morris handed Luton an unanticipated lifeline when Tahith Chong’s shot bounced into his path, allowing the powerful striker to head home from close range in the 14th minute. Gabriel Osho had a chance to equalize, but he misdirected a corner kick for Luton. Garnacho lost possession foolishly and Morris moved closer with a thundering strike that whistled just wide from the edge of the area.

United’s left back Luke Shaw had been sidelined just before the half due to yet another injury during a season beset by fitness problems. Luton lost another opportunity to tie the score as Alfie Doughty mishandled the ball from a strong position. At halftime, Ten Hag tried to slow down Luton’s progress by substituting Jonny Evans and Scott McTominay for Casemiro and Harry Maguire. Despite the alteration, Luton hammered United right out of the half, with Chong and Cauley Woodrow both posing a threat for an equalizer. Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford all missed excellent chances to give United a two-goal lead again.

Particularly guilty was Garnacho, who had a clear opportunity to score but let Kaminski get a touch on the ball as he attempted to move around him. Bell was able to clear after the United winger hesitated too long, giving up a chance to score. Fernandes shook his head in shock at Garnacho’s error, and after Kaminski saved his own free kick, the United midfielder’s frustration was evident once more. Ross Barkley’s header in stoppage time came dangerously close to ruining Hojlund’s incredible day, but Luton never gave up. -AFP

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