How long can Scott McTominay remain Manchester United's 'unlikely' hero?
The divisive midfielder emerged from the bench to head in an 86th-minute winner against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, reigniting United's ambitions of Champions League qualification.
McTominay's seventh league goal of the season - a figure unrivalled among United's squad - closed the gap to fifth-placed Villa to just five points with 14 Games of the campaign remaining. Tottenham Hotspur are only one point better off but a spot inside the top five may be enough to qualify for Europe's premier club comPetition this season.
United's bright start offered little evidence that another late show would be required.
After ending a 1,026-minute wait to score his first Premier League goal in the reverse fixture against Villa at Old Trafford, Rasmus Hojlund described himself as "the happiest man alive right now".
When he cleverly tucked in Harry Maguire's knockdown from a first-half corner, Hojlund trotted across to the corner flag with a sense of assured confidence. With a goal in each of his five previous appearances, Hojlund's finishing was no longer fallible but inevitable.
During an entertaining first half stuffed with chances, most fans were taken by Casemiro's reaction to getting booked. The Brazilian was aghast at the sight of a yellow card in Robert Jones' raised hand, windmilling his arms and pirouetting in disgust.
Casemiro's antics weren't for everyone.
Not only was Hojlund scoring but Andre Onana had steered out of his personal nosedive during an impressive and busy opening 45 minutes. United's goalkeeper has come under unrelenting criticism during his debut season in Manchester and received little respite at the Africa Cup of Nations, where he was dropped as Cameroon's number-one in place of his cousin who plies his trade in the French third-tier.
However, Onana was a match for the onslaught Villa steered his way.
Onana could only stand firm for so long. United's revitalised shot-stopper had made two further saves from point-blank range after the break but could do nothing about Douglas Luiz's finish into the top corner from all of six yards.
Holding the kneeling position that he landed in when sweeping Villa level in the 67th minute, Luiz celebrated with a jaunty shake of his shoulders. Raphael Varane was bemused but the internet was bewitched.
The match appeared to be ebbing towards a tame conclusion when Kobbie Mainoo collected the ball on the right wing in the final five minutes. A sharp shuffle of feet shifted the ball into Diogo Dalot's stride, allowing the right-back to swing a first-time cross into the box.
Naturally, McTominay was lurking with intent. A midfielder whose 'smell for goal' has been lauded by Erik ten Hag all season added another to his tally.
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