MAN UNITED 2, BRENTFORD 2
Talented teenager Anthony Elanga enhanced his growing reputation with another gem of a goal for Manchester United to provide manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a pleasant problem to resolve.
The 19-year-old product of local amateur side Hattersley FC struck the opening goal of the game for the Reds who were held at home by newly promoted Brentford.
Elanga, who found the net with another beauty in the weekend defeat at QPR, featured in two Premier League at the end of the season, scoring in the last-day win at Wolves.
Solskjaer had previously considered loaning Elanga to give him experience.
He said: “Anthony has given me a problem. He is a player who score goals and gives you enthusiasm and energy.
“We want to play a pressing game. If you asked him at half time to run over to the cricket ground to get a drink, he would do so.
“He gives you reasons to play him and the decision I have to make about him is a big one.”
The game will be remembered for the four goals, all fabulous efforts.
The Reds twice held the lead through spectacular strikes Elanga and Andreas Pereira only for the Bees to provide their own sting with two equally fine strikes from Shandon Baptiste and Bryan Mbeumo.
Solskjaer described Pereira’s strike as a potential goal of the season.
“I dare anyone to do better. It was a magic strike,” he said.
Solskjaer was delighted with the workout.
He said: “I enjoyed the game. We played really well in the first half and at the start of the second.
“When you start to make changes, it affects your rhythm.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Greenwood were the only two starters likely to feature in the opening Premier League game of the season.
But it was the chance for the likes of captain Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Axel Tuanzebe to stake a claim while re-signed Tom Heaton made his bow at Old Trafford.
Brentford were only marginally stronger with possibly only five of their side likely to start their first-ever campaign in the Premier League, though star striker Ivan Toney led the front line.
United made an electrifying start and Lingard forced a diving save from David Raya in the opening minute.
The Reds made the breakthrough in the 12th minute through Elanga who found the net with a terrific volley from the penalty spot following Wan-Bissaka’s cross.
Brentford were not to be outdone as they scored their own wonder goal to draw level eight minutes later from Baptiste.
A defensive header from the Reds was diverted by Toney into the path of the 23-year-old from Grenada whose first time left-foot shot arrowed into the top corner off the underside of the crossbar.
United regained the lead five minutes after the restart with the third spectacular strike of the match.
Lingard’s initial effort was beaten out by Raya, Ethan Pinnock headed the out but only as far as Pereira, the 25-year-old Brazilian, whose volley from 30 yards arrowed into the net, also off the underside of the bar.
Never-say-die Brentford hit back for a second time with 12 minutes left when substitute Mbeumo scored another special goal.
Mbeumo, the last remaining player of the Bees’ famed BMW of Saido Berahino, Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins, cut in from the right past Reds’ substitute Diego Dalot before bending in a delightful shot into the far corner.
Brentford were by no means intimated by a visit to Old Trafford and, if they adopt the same approach in the Premier League, they looked to have enough to survive at the highest level.