Alejandro Garnacho came off the bench to score a dramatic injury time winner as Manchester United secured a crucial 2-1 away win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday night.

The Red Devils looked destined to settle for a 1-1 draw before Garnacho’s left footed strike broke Fulham’s hearts.

Now Eric Ten Hag’s side currently sit fifth in the table, 3 points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, as we break for the World Cup.

United took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy Christian Eriksen’s first goal for the traveling side, having joined the Red Devils as a free agent in the summer. The Danish playmaker should have doubled United’s lead just at the stroke of half time but dragged his left footed effort just wide having been teed off by Bruno Fernandes from the right wing.

Fulham were arguably the better side in the second half but were kept at bay by David De Gea’s heroics, the Spanish goalkeeper who time and again rolled back the years with one save after the other. However, it was former United winger Daniel James who scored parity at the hour mark tapping home from close range following Tom Cairney’s low left footed cross. United had themselves to blame for conceding the goal allowing former Chelsea man Willian acres of space, who released Cairney with a smart bit of play, setting up the Scottish midfielder.  

Garnacho: The man of the moment

Ten Hag replaced striker Antony Martial with Garnacho in the 72nd minute and the Argentine didn’t disappoint. In what was the last passage of play, the Garnacho received the ball on the left flank from Luke Shaw before playing a one-two with Eriksen to dart into the Fulham penalty box. It appeared that Bobby Decordova-Reid had the winger covered, but the teenager burnt his opposition with pace to perfectly time a brilliant left footed shot across goal past Brad Leno in the Fulham goal.

Garnacho has now scored two goals adding to his two assists in his last four games for the Red Devils. The youngster had earlier scored against Real Sociedad in the Europa League encounter and put on a sublime 30-minute cameo in the 4-2 win over Aston Villa in midweek the Carabao Cup. The Argentine lit Old Trafford up with a magical assist for Scott McTominay endearing to the home faithful

The 18-year-old has rapidly risen through the ranks from last season, featuring regularly with the U23s. The Argentine made his senior debut for the club in April in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea. United secured the services of the midfielder from Atletico Madrid in 2020, fending off interest from Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the process. Garnacho, who grew up in Madrid, featured regularly for the Atletico Madrid youth academy, earning the title of ‘Jewel’ thanks to his precocious talent.

Gifted with sublime technical ability, the teenager grabbed attention in the 2021/22 season for the U18s with 10 goals and 5 assists in 27 appearances. However, it was in the 4-1 win against Everton in the FA youth cup that he captured the headlines, running past the entire opposition back line, picking the ball in his own half, before slotting home, showing glimpses of his natural ability and pace.

Garnacho was eventually called up for Argentina’s qualifying campaign but is yet to make to his debut for the Albiceleste. In truth, the World Cup probably came far too quick for the young man, who didn’t make the cut for Qatar for Lionel Scaloni’s side. However there is no doubt that the midfielder will be a mainstay of the Argentina squad in the years to come.

Manchester United, though, have a raw jewel in their hands, and with Ten Hag at the helm, would feel that the Dutch manager can polish the Argentine to a world beater for years to come.

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images