Aston Villa 2-2 Man United: Philippe Coutinho inspires new club to comeback with debut goal

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Philippe Coutinho came off the bench to inspire Aston Villa to a thrilling comeback as they earned a 2-2 draw against Man United at Villa Park.

Bruno Fernandes scored in both halves as United went two goals up and looked to be on course for a comfortable win and one of their best performances under Ralf Rangnick.

Coutinho was introduced just after that second goal, and after Jacob Ramsey had halved the deficit, the Brazilian got his new club level and started his Villa career in some style.

United were without Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford due to injury, while Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay were suspended and Harry Maguire only earned a place on the bench.

A team in need of a confidence-boosting performance got an absolute gift after just six minutes. Alex Telles flicked a free-kick for Bruno Fernandes to bring forward, and he went for goal from 25 yards out.

The effort bounced and looked to be comfortably heading straight at Emi Martinez, but the goalkeeper let the ball slip through his hands and couldn’t prevent it rolling over the line.

Martinez put that behind to make a really good save from Mason Greenwood when the ball bounced to him in the box, and the United forward has a shot from the edge of the box fly just wide.

Villa improved slightly, with Ollie Watkins curling a tame effort at David de Gea before the Spaniard also saved from Emi Buendia’s header, as United went into the break deservedly in front.

It was a bright start to the second-half from both sides, with Anthony Elanga seeing a shot palmed away by Martinez before De Gea got down well to deny Jacob Ramsey.

Elanga pounced on an error from Matty Cash but could only send an effort wide, while Greenwood was inches away from doubling the lead as he drove into the box and fired a right-footed strike beyond the far post.

With Philippe Coutinho on the touchline waiting to be brought on for his debut, United doubled their lead. Morgan Sanson’s pass back to Tyrone Mings was underhit, and Fred pounced on the loose ball. The Brazilian played it inside to Fernandes, who finished with aplomb for his second of the match.

But Jacob Ramsey started the comeback, as Fred’s attempted interception played the ball perfectly into the path of the midfielder and he hammered it past De Gea.

And Coutinho made it a debut to remember just five minutes later. Buendia played a lovely pass through to Ramsey who had burst into the box, and he played it across the face of goal to give the Brazilian a tap-in at the back post as Raphael Varane was unable to cut out the cross.

Coutinho had another effort saved by De Gea as he looked to complete the comeback, while Donny van de Beek had a shot desperately blocked in the final few seconds, as it finished level after a breathless final 20 minutes at Villa Park.

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