Martial nets hat-trick as Man Utd sink Sheffield

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Manchester United 3-0 Sheffield United: Anthony Martial nets the first hat-trick of his senior career as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ease past Blades to keep the pressure on Chelsea in the race for Champions League.

Martial nets hat-trick as Man Utd sink Sheffield
Anthony Martial celebrates after completing the first hat-trick of his career in a comfortable win for Manchester United.

Anthony Martial became the first Manchester United player to score a Premier League hat-trick in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era as they marked their return to Old Trafford with a comfortable 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

Martial’s treble ended a seven-year drought since Robin Van Persie scored three against Aston Villa in 2013, and ensured United keep pace in the Champions League race.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Paul Pogba a first start since September after his cameo had helped earn a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Friday night.

Chris Wilder, meanwhile, made five changes to the side that had started the defeat at Newcastle, two of them enforced as Phil Jagielka replaced the suspended John Egan while Simon Moore made only his second league appearance in two seasons, deputising for the ineligible Dean Henderson.

It took only seven minutes for Moore to be given the unwanted first task of picking the ball out of his own net as Martial reacted sharply to steer Marcus Rashford’s speculative low cross home.

It should have been two soon after, when Martial attempted to return the favour, unselfishly squaring to Rashford when he might have scored himself, but United’s no. 10 somehow steered wide of a gaping goal, albeit under pressure.

Rashford miscued a more difficult chance on the volley after wonderful play from Bruno Fernandes and Pogba, while Harry Maguire had a header rightfully disallowed for a push on Jagielka.

The drinks break sparked some life into the visitors and you wondered whether Solskjaer’s men might be made to pay for their wastefulness, but Martial found the net again on the stroke of half-time, finishing sharply from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross to give his side the cushion they deserved.

United spent much of the first part of the second half playing keep ball, but Pogba lifted the tempo with a stunning nutmeg and mazy run, only for Martial to nip the ball off his toes and lift it well over the crossbar.

But he made amends 15 minutes from time after more good build-up play from Rashford, Pogba, and Fernandes, lifting over the helpless Moore to seal all three points.

Written by Ericson Mangoli

Ericson Mangoli is the founder of African Stand, based in Nairobi Kenya, Ericson leads a splendid group of correspondents, independent writers, investigators, analysts, and supporters from around the globe to run African Stand as a supervisor and the chief editor.

Ericson Mangoli's editorial experience ranges more than 5 years and covers all the sports news, and at times including business and venture, data innovation, legislative issues, strategy, basic freedoms, science detailing, and significantly more.

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