Mason Greenwood's first goal for Manchester United turned out to be the winner as they laboured to a 1-0 Europa League win over Astana at Old Trafford.
Greenwood opened his Manchester United account in style as the 17-year-old secured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men an unconvincing win against in their Europa League opener.
Back in the competition for the first time since lifting the trophy two years ago, the Reds' gruelling road to Gdansk got off to a surprisingly uncomfortable start against the perennial Kazakhstan champions.
An embarrassing European result was looming large in front of an increasingly frustrated Old Trafford crowd, only for teenager Greenwood to produce a moment of magic and secure a 1-0 win.
Solskjaer will be relieved to have got Group L off to a winning start, although will surely be alarmed by the way his side's performance dropped off after Fred hit the woodwork and Marcus Rashford saw early efforts denied.
Perhaps the disjointed display should not come as a surprise given teenagers Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Greenwood were all handed starting roles as United named their youngest European line-up since 2012.
The latter would eventually save the day - and show just why Solskjaer called him one of the best finishers he had seen - by confidently making space and smashing home in front of the Stretford End, becoming the first player born this millennium to score for United.
Manchester United 1-0 FC Astana Opta stats
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 12 games in the Europa League (W9 D3), keeping eight clean sheets in this run.
- Manchester United have recorded back-to-back wins in all competitions for the first time since March 2019.
- Mason Greenwood is the first player born in the 2000s to score a senior goal for Manchester United (born in October 2001).
- The average age of Manchester United's starting XI against Astana was 24 years and 145 days; their youngest in a Europa League/Champions League game since December 2012 (24y 54d v CFR Cluj).
- Manchester United handed starts to three teenagers against Astana (Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes); their most in a Europa League/Champions League game since November 2009 against Besiktas (Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda and Rafael).
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