MANCHESTER UNITED believed they had three points in their pocket thanks to a Bruno Fernandes brace – until Steven Gerrard sent in the call for ‘little magician!’
And hey presso, great signing Philippe Coutinho lived up to his nickname by pulling a rabbit out of his hat to stun United on his Villa debut.
The 29-year-old Brazilian somehow conjured up two of Villa’s late goals in a brilliant display that lasted 22 minutes, as he netted Villa’s first goal for Jacob Ramsey before scoring the equalizer. Impressive late game draw for a point.
That left Villa fans ecstatically licking their lips at the prospect of Coutinho possibly playing for 90 minutes when he returns to full fitness.
Meanwhile United fans lick their wounds – on a day when their own world-class superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was excluded due to trauma.
Even the most pessimistic United fans must have thought they were at home and withered when Gerrard tossed Coutinho onto the pitch in what appeared to be his final roll of the dice.
Most of them were still busy cheering on Fernandes’ second goal, seconds earlier when the Portuguese midfielder edged past Villa’s defense to hit Emi Martinez’s crossbar in his seventh goal. him in the season.
At that point, the away team seemed to have earned the well-deserved 3 points after a much-improved performance.
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However, this will be Coutinho’s day when the former Liverpool player has an attractive return to the Premier League.
It took him less than 10 minutes to set up Villa’s return as he played a smart two with Carney Chukwuemeka before feeding Ramsey the high ball past him. David de Gea.
It’s amazing how much more has come from Coutinho, who went on to take the lead five minutes later!
This time, Ramsey redirected the player as he rolled the ball over six yards and Coutinho stole the ball from long range to beat De Gea from a few yards.
United will kick themselves for taking their eyes off the award after being handed a flawless start to their favorite away field.
This fixture is a continuing gift to United – the closest you’ll get to a ‘gimme’ in the Premier League.
United have not lost at Villa Park in the tournament since August 1995…. 23 incredible matches and 26 years ago!
And true to form, Villa started the most away game in England’s top flight history by giving United the lead after six minutes.
It was a rare moment of madness from Emi Martinez that will haunt Villa’s Argentinian keeper, who let a Fernandes shot beat him from 25 yards.
The United midfielder’s shot should have been a lifesaver for a ‘keeper with Martinez’s class and solid experience.
But there was clearly more butter than bread on this occasion and Villa No. 1 carelessly let the ball slip through his glove, bounce off his central midfield and then somehow slip past him and crossed the goal line.
That should have given United three points – until that belated collapse.
Probably Cristiano Ronaldo was right and there was a soft center for this United team who should never have given up two goals late… Coutinho or no Coutinho!
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17336571/manchester-united-verdict-aston-villa-bruno-fernandes/ Forget Coutinho, Fernandes could be the Reds’ ‘little magician’ if Rangnick builds around him