Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Martial finishes stunning team goal as Manchester United thrash Cardiff in Solskjaer's opening game

Cardiff City 1-5 Manchester United

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates victory over Cardiff.
Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates victory over Cardiff.
Manchester United's French striker Anthony Martial celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between between Cardiff City and Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on December 22, 2018. (Photo by Geoff CADDICK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images
CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 22: Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates with teammate Jesse Lingard after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Manchester United began life under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with an eye-catching 5-1 win over Cardiff, a free-flowing team goal the highlight.

Anthony Martial made it 3-1 shortly before half-time when he put the finishing touches to a move any team would have been proud of, one-touch football picking its way through the Cardiff back line. Have a look at the goal right here:

Solskjaer could scarcely have wished for a better start as they struck five in the league for the first time since Ferguson’s final match at the helm in May 2013.

Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera also scored in an entertaining first half, with Jesse Lingard’s second-half brace sealing a 5-1 win at Solskjaer’s former club Cardiff.

Entertaining, coherent and attack-minded – it was all that United had not been under Mourinho.

The players looked re-energised under Solskjaer, with the recalled Paul Pogba winning the free-kick struck home by Rashford and providing Herrera with the assist for his deflected second.

Victor Camarasa pulled one back from the penalty spot, but United responded with another as Martial ended arguably their best move of the season smartly.

“Ole, Ole, Ole” rang around the Cardiff City Stadium – a ground where Solskjaer remains unpopular after his torrid time as manager in 2014 – long after Lingard scored a penalty and rounded the goalkeeper to finish off the victory.

United still have a lot of work to do if they are to finish in the top four, but this was the kind of display that justified the change in management.

Neil Warnock’s spirited Cardiff side faced an uphill battle to secure a fourth successive home win from the third minute.

Pogba – one of Solskjaer’s four changes – earned a free-kick that Rashford hit sweetly from nigh on 30 yards, sending it swerving into the bottom right-hand corner.

The visiting bench jumped off their seats in celebration, with Solskjaer clenching his fists at a goal followed by more positive play but little in terms of clear-cut chances.

But as the half-hour mark approached, Pogba created a timely second.

The World Cup winner showed strength to knock Sol Bamba off the ball and then found Herrera with a sublime pass. The Spaniard tried his luck from distance, with his attempt taking a deflection off Greg Cunningham and flying into the top right corner.

It was a gut punch that could have grounded Cardiff, but they quickly got themselves back into proceedings as Rashford was adjudged to have handled in the box.

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Victor Camarasa gave Cardiff a glimmer of hope (Nick Potts/PA)

United’s protestations fell on deaf ears and Camarasa struck a fierce penalty out of David De Gea’s reach to give the home side hope – if only for a few minutes.

Martial galloped from the halfway line and passed to Pogba, who quickly played on to Lingard. The attacking midfielder laid it off with his first touch for Martial to collect and prod home, completing a superb team move.

United’s raucous travelling fans were enjoying this all too rare glimpse of their players’ true potential.

Their side continued in the ascendancy after the break, with Rashford forcing a save out of Neil Etheridge before fleet-footed Lingard was brought down in the box as he tried to dash between Bamba and Sean Morrison.

Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and Lingard sent the Cardiff goalkeeper the wrong way.

The travelling support began to celebrate a fifth as centre-back Victor Lindelof, given the licence and the confidence to bomb forwards, played in Rashford, but his strike went just wide of the far post.

Josh Murphy was denied by De Gea in a rare voyage forward by the home side, before Etheridge superbly tipped over Pogba’s dipping effort. Phil Jones was denied from the following corner.

Bamba came close and Kenneth Zohore was denied as play became stretched, with United getting a fifth at the death as Pogba slipped in Lingard to round Etheridge and slot home.

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