Teenager Greenwood rescues Man United in Everton draw

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood scores their first goal to equalize 1-1 during their Premier League match against Everton on Sunday. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Teenager Greenwood rescues Man United in Everton draw

  • The 18-year-old is the third youngest to score a Premier League goal at Old Trafford

MANCHESTER: Mason Greenwood came off the bench to rescue Manchester United as the teenage striker’s late equalizer secured a 1-1 draw against Everton on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell behind to Victor Lindelof’s controversial first half own-goal after United’s appeals for a foul on David de Gea were ignored by VAR.

But Greenwood, introduced in the second half, underlined his vast potential with a clinical strike 13 minutes from full time.

The 18-year-old is the third youngest player to score a Premier League goal at Old Trafford after former United forward Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.

Bradford-born Greenwood, a product of United’s youth academy, now has seven goals in his breakthrough season after netting twice in his previous appearance against Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday.

This was his second Premier League goal after his strike against Sheffield United in November and his rapid progress is a bright spot in a difficult season for Solskjaer’s sixth-place team.

It was fitting that Greenwood scored in the 4,000th senior match in succession in which at least one youth graduate was represented in United’s first team or matchday squad, an extraordinary record stretching back over nine decades.

After their impressive wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in their last two league games, United’s frustrating draw reaffirmed how much improvement is still needed under Solskjaer despite Greenwood’s ascent.

For Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s caretaker manager, this spirited performance built on the momentum from last weekend’s win over Chelsea.

Hit by injuries and illness, Everton avoided losing for the seventh time in their last eight away league matches.

Another of United’s homegrown products should have opened the scoring within 20 seconds when Fred’s burst into the Everton area ended with Jesse Lingard swivelling onto the loose ball and shooting wide from 10 yards.

Daniel James’ blistering pace was on full display when the winger raced clear for a low drive that flashed wide of the far post, prompting an angry exchange between Everton keeper Jordan Pickford and team-mate Lucas Digne about who was to blame for the break.

Marcus Rashford tested Pickford with a swerving free kick, but United — at their best when counter-attacking — were too often forced into slow build-up play that was easy for Everton’s well-drilled defense to stifle.

United were losing their grip and it was Everton who took the lead in bizarre fashion in the 36th minute.

When Leighton Baines sent over an inswinging corner, De Gea came and missed as he tried to punch clear, with the ball bouncing off Lindelof into his own net.

United protested that Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin had fouled De Gea by putting an arm across his face, but although the goal was reviewed by VAR it was allowed to stand.

The farcical goal meant United had failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 consecutive top-flight matches for the first time since 1971.

United pressed harder after half-time and Luke Shaw drove forward from left-back for a stinging drive that Pickford pushed away to James, who accidently drove the rebound into Lingard’s face.

Everton were far more focused and combative than under the sacked Marco Silva.

But Solskjaer introduced Greenwood with 25 minutes left and it proved an inspired move.

Greenwood immediately had an effort saved by Pickford and, with United firmly on the front foot, the teenage starlet equalized in the 77th minute.

Picked out by James, Greenwood steadied himself on the edge of the area with a perfect first touch before drilling his low left-foot shot through a crowd of Everton defenders and past Pickford.

In a tense finale, Alex Iwobi almost won it for Everton with a dipping shot that De Gea pushed away before Ferguson hauled off substitute Moise Kean only 18 minutes after putting him on.


Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin partner on NASCAR team for Wallace

Updated 22 September 2020

Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin partner on NASCAR team for Wallace

  • Michael Jordan becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team
  • Former NBA star dabbled in racing before with Michael Jordan Motorsports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.
The partnership was announced Monday night in coordinated social media posts by Jordan and Hamlin, with Wallace adding his own comment. The posts showed a picture of Jordan alongside a firesuit-clad Hamlin in a motorhome at a race track.
“Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners,” Jordan said in his statement. “The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”
Jordan becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own race car in 495 races from 1961 to 1973. Scott’s 1964 victory at the Jacksonville 200 is the only win by a Black driver in Cup history.
The NBA great, who earlier this year pledged $100 million over 10 years for initiatives combating systemic racism, said the move into NASCAR is another step toward racial equality.
“I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing,” Jordan said.
Jordan joins former NBA player Brad Daugherty, a partner at JTG Daugherty Racing, as the only Black owners at NASCAR’s elite Cup level.
“Michael and Bubba can be a powerful voice together, not only in our sport, but also well beyond it,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a top contender for this year’s Cup title, will be part of a single-car Toyota entry aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin has raced his entire career for Gibbs, a Hall of Fame NFL coach.
“Eleven years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. “Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.
“Deciding on the driver was easy — it had to be Bubba Wallace.”
Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and this season used his platform to push for racial equality. The 27-year-old successfully urged NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate flag at its events.
Wallace is winless in 105 Cup starts over four seasons, but he has six career victories in the Truck Series. He’s been hampered by mid-level equipment driving the No. 43 for Hall of Famer Richard Petty and, until this summer, the team struggled to land sponsorship.
“Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level,” Hamlin said. “He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that.
“Off the track, Bubba has been a loud voice for change in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand beside him.”
There’s been speculation for months that Hamlin was organizing some sort of ownership group as he expects NASCAR’s business model to become more favorable for team owners when the “Next Gen” car is released in 2022. NASCAR rules prohibit a current driver from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin works around the policy with Jordan as the principal owner.
“Starting a race team has been something that Michael and I have talked about while playing golf together over the years, but the timing or circumstances were never really right,” Hamlin said. “It just makes sense now to lay the foundation for my racing career after I’m done driving and also help an up-and-coming driver like Bubba take his career to a higher level.”
In a statement, NASCAR welcomed Jordan to the series.
“His presence at NASCAR’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport,” NASCAR said.
Jordan became a partial owner of the Bobcats in 2006 and bought the team outright in 2010, restoring the franchise to its original Hornets name. Hamlin has been a longtime season-ticket holder with courtside seats along the visitors’ bench.
Jordan dabbled in racing before with Michael Jordan Motorsports. He owned an AMA Superbike team and had one win in 10 years. Jordan has twice traveled to the NASCAR season finale to watch Hamlin race for the championship. Hamlin, who’s 39, is still seeking his first title.
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “The opportunity to own my own race team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me.”
Wallace, who has cobbled together about $18 million in sponsorship deals since he made racial equality his platform, had already announced he was parting with Petty.
“This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” Wallace wrote. “I am grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
Jordan and Hamlin purchased a charter for their team from Germain Racing that guarantees Wallace a spot in the 40-car field every week.