Alejandro Garnacho’s late winner at Fulham triggered memories of a big goal Cristiano Ronaldo once scored – and could prove to be hugely significant in his own right.
Manchester United’s newest wonderkid snatched three points for the Red Devils in the final seconds at Craven Cottage, the 18-year-old latched onto Christian Eriksen’s pass before outmuscling Bobby Decordova-Reid and calmly slotting the ball past Bernd Leno.
It reminded Gary Neville of a famous late winner Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Fulham in 2007 – and although Ronaldo ran all the way from his own half to net the winner, Garnacho cut in from the left and scored at the same end of Craven Cottage and left it similarly late.
Ronaldo’s strike proved to be a crucial goal in Man United’s bid to win a first Premier League title in four years and while Garnacho’s goal isn’t expected to play a part in a late title charge, comments from Erik ten Hag and talkSPORT’s Alex Crook suggest it could be very crucial in the context of Man United’s season.
“That could be a big goal for Manchester United,” Crook said on the Boot Room.
“I felt this talking to Frank Lampard on Saturday, if you lose this weekend that is a long, long five weeks to look at the league table and look at what went wrong.
“It would’ve been the same for Erik ten Hag if Manchester United didn’t win this game, all of a sudden he can look at the league table and the top four is in sight.
“That could be a humungous goal come the end of the season. What a talent Garnacho is.”
Garnacho & Ronaldo 🤝 LATE winners at Craven Cottage pic.twitter.com/qwzbHhDS2O
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 13, 2022
“We have a base, we are going in the right direction. The culture has changed. The mentality has changed. That is good,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.
“We have improved our football base but always with the first platform is having a better mentality.”
“Together with the fans, we are united. We have togetherness. The dressing room, staff, directors, the whole club and the fans have a togetherness.”
Time will tell on what that goal means for Man United this term, but what of Garnacho, who’s making plenty of noise in his breakthrough season at Old Trafford?
“The next superstar, he is the next superstar,” talkSPORT’s Darren Ambrose said.
“I said tongue in cheek about Bruno Fernandes and Ten Hag mentioning his attitude, he’s clearly doing something right now because he’s clearly reaping the rewards.
“He looks sensational. When he came on in the week against Aston Villa, he changed that game and he changed the game today.
“That is a hugely important goal. If you’re a Tottenham, Newcastle or Man City supporter you’d have loved a draw there.”
“When Lionel Messi goes, the next main man for Argentina – Garnacho!” Ambrose later joked.
The goal sees Garnacho at 18 years and 135 days old become the youngest player to score a stoppage-time winner in the Premier League since Federico Macheda in April 2009 (17 years, 226 days).
A fun stat but it should also serve as a reminder to Garnacho that his career is still very much in its infancy and while Ten Hag is a fan of an ‘arrogance’ his player possesses, he handed a bit of sound advice to the wonderkid.
Asked about whether Garnacho’s ‘arrogance’ has helped him score crucial goals, Ten Hag added: “That is a big skill that he has, but find the balance, don’t over-play it.
“But the skill to perform under stress… he came in, he made a big impact, like he did on Thursday, so well done.”
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