Hours after being honored for his impact off the field, Marcus Rashford also delivered in front of goal.
The striker scored twice to lead Manchester United’s recovery to beat Sheffield United 3-2 in the Premier League on Thursday.
The evening began with Rashford — in a pre-recorded segment at the FIFA Best awards — receiving the fair play accolade from world football’s governing body for his campaign to combat child poverty and pressure the British government into providing free meals.
“It will have a knock-on effect,” Rashford said, “because things will start to happen in other countries as well.”
👏 FIFA Foundation Award Winner#ICYMI: @England and @ManUtd star @MarcusRashford was awarded the first FIFA Foundation Award for his outstanding humanitarian work to combat child poverty
FIFA will donate USD $100,000 to support his inspiring social and charity work pic.twitter.com/C0QvhOuCsj
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 17, 2020
His goals at Bramall Lane lifted United to sixth in the league, five points behind leader and champion Liverpool with a game in hand.
“Once again we’ve done well to respond, going a goal behind, scoring three goals, and then of course, late on, if we don’t kill the game off it’s going to be tough at a place like this,” Rashford said. “Today we didn’t get anything that we didn’t expect. They fought for every ball, they wanted to win the game and they fought for 90 minutes, and in the end we managed to get the three points.”
It was a familiar situation for United. For the sixth successive away game in the league, Man United fell behind before winning.
But it started badly for Dean Henderson in the United goal at the club where was previously on loan.
There was no sign of danger when United captain Harry Maguire played a return pass to Henderson but he dawdled enough for Oliver Burke to close him down and flick the ball into the path of David McGoldrick to score from close range after five minutes.
But Rashford raced onto a superb ball by Victor Lindelof from his own half and took a sublime touch before slotting in the equalizer in the 26th minute.
It was a gut punch followed by a 33rd-minute uppercut. Paul Pogba found Anthony Martial with a clipped ball into the box and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale failed to deal with the forward’s initial effort, allowing him to convert the rebound in front of the empty stand.
Rashford was on target again six minutes into the second half.
Pogba cut out a misplaced throw-in, turned smartly and produced a smooth pirouette to start a break from deep in the United half. Referee Michael Oliver allowed play to continue when Mason Greenwood was fouled in the middle of a fine team move that ended with Rashford all too easily beating Ramsdale.
“The referee played advantage and in the end that’s probably why we get the goal, because it is a foul earlier on in the play,” Rashford said. “But from there it’s about reaction and runs and passes, and when we play one-touch like that, we can do that against every team in the league.”
Sheffield United found find a way past its former goalkeeper again in the 87th minute as John Fleck swung in a corner and Lindelof’s header ricocheted back off McGoldrick into the goal.
And the hosts would have pulled off a remarkable comeback draw was it not for Henderson thwarting Mousset in stoppage time.
Aston Villa was held 0-0 by Burnley despite having 27 shots as Anwar El Ghazi and Kortney Hause both hit the crossbar.
Villa remains 11th and sits four points behind the top five. Burnley is a point out of the relegation zone.