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15 minutes of madness get Man United win over Luton Town

Manchester United extended their Premier League winning streak to four games with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Luton Town, keeping their Champions League aspirations alive. Rasmus Højlund played a pivotal role in the win, capitalizing on a critical mistake and showcasing his goal-scoring prowess, a testament to Erik ten Hag's resilient squad.

Højlund's can't stop scoring

The 21-year-old Danish striker, Rasmus Højlund, has been a revelation since scoring his first Premier League goal on December 26. With seven goals in just five matches since then, Højlund's form has been a significant factor in United's recent success. His performance against Luton Town was particularly impactful, starting with a goal in the very first minute following a defensive error from Luton's Amari'i Bell.

Bell's misplaced back-pass was intended for goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, but Højlund intercepted it, rounding the keeper to score with his left foot, giving United an early lead. His second goal, a fortuitous chest from Alejandro Garnacho's off-target shot following Luke Shaw's corner, doubled United's advantage and highlighted his instinctive play.

Luton's fightback

Luton Town, undeterred by the early setback, quickly reduced the deficit thanks to an effort involving former United youth player Tahith Chong. Chong's shot was deflected, falling kindly to Clinton Morris, who headed in to make it 1-2. The home side's spirited performance in the first half saw United pushed back, with Shaw, Casemiro, and Harry Maguire all receiving yellow cards, indicating the intensity of the contest. In response to the growing pressure and to avoid further bookings or injuries, Ten Hag made strategic halftime substitutions, replacing Maguire and Casemiro, while Shaw had already been forced off due to injury.

United holds on

Despite a more controlled second half where United managed to limit Luton's chances, near misses from Bruno Fernandes and Garnacho kept the match tense. Fernandes nearly extended the lead, only for Albert Sambi Lokonga to block his effort, and Garnacho missed a critical opportunity to put the game beyond reach.

The match culminated in a nail-biting finish as Ross Barkley hit the bar in the final moments, nearly snatching a draw for Luton. However, United held on for the win, closing the gap to Tottenham Hotspur to just three points and keeping the dream of Champions League football well and truly alive.

With this narrow victory, United's focus on maintaining their winning form becomes ever more crucial as they navigate the remainder of the season, aiming to secure a top-four finish.