EPL: Greenwood on target as United clinch Champion League place - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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EPL: Greenwood on target as United clinch Champion League place


Manchester United need a point from their final game of the season to clinch a Champions League place after coming from behind to draw against West Ham, who confirmed their Premier League survival.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side moved third, a point ahead of Leicester, who they face at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

But victory for Brendan Rodgers' team will deny the Red Devils a spot in Europe's elite club competition next season - unless fourth-placed Chelsea lose to Wolves.

Michail Antonio put the Hammers ahead in first-half stoppage time with his eighth goal in six games after Paul Pogba gave away a penalty when he raised his hands to block a Declan Rice free-kick.

Eighteen-year-old Mason Greenwood levelled with his 17th goal of a stellar first season as a senior player.

Both sides had chances to win it, with under-pressure David de Gea producing a fingertip save to repel a deflected Jarrod Bowen effort and substitute Odion Ighalo turning a near-post effort wide at the other end.

Manchester United already knew their efforts to secure a top-four berth would go down to the last day at Leicester. However the point means that, after being in fifth since February, Solskjaer's side have moved back into the top four for the first time since 14 September.

Although Solskjaer said during his side's pre-season tour of Australia he rated Greenwood as the best finisher at the club, it was not until December that he gave the Yorkshireman his first Premier League start of the season.

Twenty-two games on, it is hard to imagine the line-up for an important game being picked without him.

His latest clinical effort was his 10th in the league this term. Michael Owen's astonishing effort in 1997-98, when he scored 18, is the only time a teenager has done better since the Premier League was formed in 1992.

The intricate close passing with Anthony Martial which created the shooting opportunity underlined that Greenwood is much more than a goalscorer. It felt like he was taking responsibility when other, more experienced, team-mates had not.

Owen went to a World Cup after his stellar season. Greenwood has more time and, although he will still be a teenager when the European Championship begins next summer, on this evidence it would be no surprise to see him in Gareth Southgate's squad.

The goal was vital for Manchester United, who have failed to win successive home games for the first time in nearly six months, but have the advantage at just the right time as Solskjaer looks to return the club back to something like its former self.
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