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Manchester United ignite UCL hopes with 2-1 win at Villa

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LONDON, Feb 12: Rasmus Hojlund scored for the fifth straight Premier League game and Scott McTominay headed home a late winner as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 2-1 to ignite its Champions League qualification hopes on Sunday.
Only five points separates United in sixth and Villa in fifth after McTominay met Diogo Dalot’s cross with a powerful header in the 86th minute to seal a third straight league victory for the visitors.
Hojlund steered in a close-range finish in the 17th minute off Harry Maguire’s downward header at a corner to put United in front at Villa Park. Douglas Luiz equalized in the 67th.
Villa would have jumped to fourth place and moved 11 points clear of United with a win. Instead, the battle for fourth place behind Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal is heating up.
Tottenham is in fourth place on 47 points, one ahead of Villa and six more than United.
Villa has lost its last three home games.
Villa’s once-impregnable home record underpinned the team’s improbably strong start to the season. It wasn’t long ago that Villa was beating City and Arsenal in the space of 72 hours to set a club record of 15 straight home wins in the league and sit just two points behind first-place Liverpool.
Now Villa has lost three home games in a row to Newcastle, Chelsea and now Man United and is looking over its shoulder. The hosts created enough chances to win but lacked the ruthlessness displayed by United,“We are not where we want to be in the league,” United defender Harry Maguire said. “It’s been a tough season so we knew we needed to come here and get the three points.
“We are still not where we want to be and we need to step up. We have got ourselves in a position where we can challenge to go and get in the top four. It is important we stick together and take this club back to where it should be.”(PTI)

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