Better than Ronaldo and Rooney – Alejandro Garnacho’s overhead kick sinks Everton

Better than Ronaldo and Rooney – Alejandro Garnacho’s overhead kick sinks Everton 

Alejandro Garnacho overhead kick vs Everton - Everton vs Manchester United live


It was up there with Gareth Bale against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final. It was better than Cristiano Ronaldo – his idol – also for Real Madrid against Juventus, and it was even superior to Wayne Rooney’s arresting strike in the Manchester derby 12 years ago.

The stunning overhead kick executed by Alejandro Garnacho, precisely 136 seconds into this victory over Everton, was a stop-the-clocks moment. It was a finish to already end the goal of the season contest – with Erik ten Hag readily agreeing with that. Crucially it was a goal that quietened the din at a mutinous Goodison Park and it earned Manchester United an unexpected three points.

It was the 10 points that Everton were docked by the independent Premier League commission which had dominated the build-up, fuelled the sense of injustice and led to the expectation that the occasion would simply prove too much for a United side as apparently fragile as this.

Instead they won and eventually won well. And what a goal it was that set them off. “A goal like this has to silence the crowd,” said United captain Bruno Fernandes and it did just that. The air was simply taken out of Everton and they never quite recovered. “A worldie,” Sean Dyche said. “A lifetime goal.”

Sir Alex Ferguson had described Rooney’s bicycle kick against City in 2011 as the best goal he had seen at Old Trafford but Garnacho’s was better. For sure he was under less pressure from defenders than Rooney, who was sandwiched between Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards, and maybe it did not mean as much. But in terms of technique, the Argentine was further out, he was running away from goal and he executed a sweeter connection. Another factor to consider was the high quality of the build-up that led to Diogo Dalot’s precise cross.

“Don’t compare,” Ten Hag naturally cautioned. “It’s not right. They all have their own identity… but he definitely has high potential to do amazing things. If you want to be a player like Rooney or Ronaldo you have to score 25 goals in the Premier League and go into areas where it hurts. But potential he has.”

As Garnacho wheeled away in celebration he performed the Ronaldo ‘Siu’ celebration and the 19-year-old winger, along with 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, was the star of the show for United with Marcus Rashford scoring from a penalty and Anthony Martial adding a third to compound Everton’s pain. It meant that having scored only one goal from a forward all season in the league, all three of their starts across the front-line did so.

Garnacho does the Ronaldo ‘Siu’ celebration Garnacho marks his stunning strike with a rendition of the Ronaldo ‘Siu’ celebration CREDIT: PA/Peter Byrne

Garnacho will claim the headlines. He will spark the debate. He will earn the replays. But Mainoo was outstanding and composed on his first Premier League start and actually exerted a greater overall influence. Like Garnacho he is an academy product, although one closer to home, from Stockport, and he caught the eye in pre-season but then suffered an injury set-back. This was some involvement and not least because of the circumstances.

“For me, man of the match,” Ten Hag said and credit to him, in the stands as he served a touchline ban, for putting the teenager in here at the start of what will be a crucial week for the club.

United fly to Istanbul ahead of their must-win Champions League tie against Galatasaray on Wednesday before facing Newcastle United away on Saturday while Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment, and control of football matters, should finally be ratified and announced in the coming days.

It made this result even more important and, remarkably, United are the form team, in terms of results, and are now just six points off the top of the table and have won as many league games as Liverpool. Find some logic in that.

Maybe with Ratcliffe and with youngsters like Garnacho and Mainoo there is a brighter future also? Even so the travelling fans still sang their disapproval of the Glazers. It still feels a long way back.

Everton failed to take chance after chance

As with their Premier League punishment, Everton will feel hard done by. After Garnacho’s goal the opportunities fell to them. By half-time they should have been ahead. Maybe even comfortably ahead. They failed to take chance after chance – four in four minutes in one frantic spell – with some poor misses from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gana Gueye, a fine save by Andre Onana and a goal-line clearance from Mainoo.

There was, dare it be said, a further sense of injustice with a penalty award to Martial following a Var intervention when he was caught by Ashley Young. Initially Martial was cautioned for a dive by referee John Brooks but that was over-turned although the argument continued over whether the United forward had initiated the contact.

Dyche did not hold back in his criticism. with Fernandes allowing Rashford the spot-kick. “Because Marcus needed a bit of confidence, he needed his goal,” Fernandes said. But what would have been Ten Hag’s reaction had he missed? As Rashford scored he hailed Fernandes’ “great captaincy”.

United went further ahead through a smart team move with Fernandes threading a pass through to Martial who smartly dinked the ball beyond Pickford. It was over. Vitalii Mykolenko struck the cross-bar but there was no way back for Everton, in this game at least, and long before the end their fans had streamed away.

Garnacho’s goal will only compound their feeling that their luck is out. For now at least.

Whose was best: Garnacho’s, Rooney’s, Ronaldo’s or Bale’s? Watch and vote…

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