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Manchester United 1-1 Wolves: Joao Moutinho earns visitors a point

Manchester United failed to give their legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson a winning return to Old Trafford as Portuguese international Joao Moutinho’s equaliser earned Wolves a deserved point.

Ferguson received a standing ovation as he made his first appearance at the stadium since suffering a brain haemorrhage in May.

His hopes of seeing a United win to mark the occasion got off to a good start when £47million midfielder Fred scored his first goal for the club after 18 minutes.

Joao Moutinho scored a sensational equaliser as Wolves earned a memorable point at Manchester United on Saturday

The Portuguese midfielder scored an equaliser for the newly-promoted side early into the second half to stun the home fans

The Portuguese midfielder scored an equaliser for the newly-promoted side early into the second half to stun the home fans

The former Monaco man produced a sensational curling effort into the top corner to put them on level terms

The former Monaco man produced a sensational curling effort into the top corner to put them on level terms

Manchester United opened the scoring on home soil after 18 minutes with a delightful effort from summer signing Fred

Manchester United opened the scoring on home soil after 18 minutes with a delightful effort from summer signing Fred

The Brazilian unleashed a drilled shot low into the bottom right-hand corner of Rui Patricio's goal to give his side the lead

The Brazilian unleashed a drilled shot low into the bottom right-hand corner of Rui Patricio’s goal to give his side the lead

Manchester United look dejected as they walk back to the halfway line with Wolves players celebrating in the background

Manchester United look dejected as they walk back to the halfway line with Wolves players celebrating in the background

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE 

Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea 6.5; Valencia 6, Smalling 6, Lindelof 6, Shaw 6; Fred 6.5 (Mata 63 6), Fellaini 6, Pogba 7; Lingard 5.5 (Pereira 75 6), Lukaku 5.5, Sanchez 6.5 (Martial 63 5.5).

Subs not used: Bailly, Young, Romero, McTominay.

Goals: Fred 18

Bookings: Shaw

Manager: Jose Mourinho 

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio 7; Bennett 6.5, Coady 6, Boly 7; Doherty 6, Neves 6.5, Moutinho 7 (Saiss 81), Otto 6; Costa 7.5 (Traore 75 7), Jimenez 7, Jota 6 (Gibbs-White 86).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Vinagre, Hause, Bonatini.

Goals: Moutinho 52

Bookings: Neves

Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

Referee: Kevin Friend 6.5

Attendance: 74,489

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The hosts opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a delightful effort from summer signing Fred. Click HERE to view our MATCH ZONE.

The hosts opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a delightful effort from summer signing Fred. Click HERE to view our MATCH ZONE.

But newly-promoted Wolves put in an impressive performance and after forcing David de Gea into a number of saves, they levelled when Helder Costa beat Luke Shaw on the byline and his cross was eventually fired in by Moutinho.

The emotion of Fergie’s return may have unsetlled Jose Mourinho’s players as they made an untidy start despite having won their last three games on the road.

Raul Jimenez should have given Wolves an early lead when his sharp turn in the penalty area was followed by a low strike that De Gea kept out with his boot.

After 17 minutes, United’s goalkeeper produced an even better save. Willy Boly rose to meet a corner and as his downward header bounced up again De Gea showed outstanding reflexes to claw the ball away with his outstretched left palm.

Sir Alex Ferguson was given a rapturous applause by Manchester United fans at Old Trafford as he made his return

Sir Alex Ferguson was given a rapturous applause by Manchester United fans at Old Trafford as he made his return

The club legend made his first public appearance since undergoing surgery on his brain back in May

The club legend made his first public appearance since undergoing surgery on his brain back in May

Portuguese managerial duo Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo embrace in the technical area before kick-off 

Portuguese managerial duo Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo embrace in the technical area before kick-off 

The visitors forced David de Gea into making a save early on as Wolves players Diogo Jota, Willy Boly and Matt Doherty watch

The visitors forced David de Gea into making a save early on as Wolves players Diogo Jota, Willy Boly and Matt Doherty watch

Jonny Castro tries to flick the ball over Antonio Valencia as he tries to put the newly-promoted side on to the front foot

Jonny Castro tries to flick the ball over Antonio Valencia as he tries to put the newly-promoted side on to the front foot

United had barely had a kick at that stage yet within two minutes they were ahead.

Wolves defender Conor Coady couldn’t get enough distance on his clearance from an Alexis Sanchez cross and Paul Pogba showed great awareness to tee up Fred on the edge of the box with his first touch.

The Brazilian, who was starting in place of the suspended Nemanja Matic, buried the chance into the corner with a clever low finish and then danced with Pogba to celebrate.

Mourinho’s side had lost their previous game at Old Trafford 3-0 to Spurs and after Fred’s free-kikc had been tipped away by Patricio on the stroke of half-time they looked nervous defending a one-goal lead.

Wolves failed to take their early chances and Fred slammed the hosts in front with a sublime finish on the edge of the box

Wolves failed to take their early chances and Fred slammed the hosts in front with a sublime finish on the edge of the box

Ruben Neves looks up to the sky in frustration as Fred runs off to celebrate scoring his first Manchester United goal

Ruben Neves looks up to the sky in frustration as Fred runs off to celebrate scoring his first Manchester United goal

Jesse Lingard was recalled to the starting line-up from midweek and he tried to burst away from Jonny in the early stages

Jesse Lingard was recalled to the starting line-up from midweek and he tried to burst away from Jonny in the early stages

Pogba was once again very impressed in the middle of midfield as Jota and Neves try to knock him off the ball

Pogba was once again very impressed in the middle of midfield as Jota and Neves try to knock him off the ball

Alexis Sanchez smiles at Romelu Lukaku after impressing following his recall to the team in place of Anthony Martial

Alexis Sanchez smiles at Romelu Lukaku after impressing following his recall to the team in place of Anthony Martial

Lingard looks to put pressure on Rui Patricio and got near to closing him down before the Portuguese guy cleared the ball

Lingard looks to put pressure on Rui Patricio and got near to closing him down before the Portuguese guy cleared the ball

After 51 minutes, Wolves were rewarded for their enterprise. Costa tricked his way past Shaw on the left to send in a low cross that Jimenez cleverly played back to Moutinho.

From the edge of the box, the 32-year-old Portuguese international gave De Gea no chance to send the travelling supporters into a frenzy.

Mourinho responded by sending on Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira and Marouane Fellaini was pushed further forward to make a nuisance of himself in the air.

The in-form Luke Shaw goes shoulder to shoulder for the ball with Wolves winger Helder Costa on the touchline

The in-form Luke Shaw goes shoulder to shoulder for the ball with Wolves winger Helder Costa on the touchline

Chris Smalling looked to keep his good recent defensive record intact by closely patrolling Jota out of play near the byline

Chris Smalling looked to keep his good recent defensive record intact by closely patrolling Jota out of play near the byline

Moutinho charged onto a layoff on the edge of the box, wrapped his foot around the ball and saw it fly into the net

Moutinho charged onto a layoff on the edge of the box, wrapped his foot around the ball and saw it fly into the net

Espirito Santo turns to his bench with a clenched fist and celebrates  his side's equalising goal at the Theatre of Dreams

Espirito Santo turns to his bench with a clenched fist and celebrates his side’s equalising goal at the Theatre of Dreams

Fellaini had a header blocked at close range by Patricio who also tipped over from Jesse Lingard.

But a late United winner would have been rough justice for another Portuguese manager, Wolves’ rising star Nuno Espirito Santo – who was a goalkeeper in Jose Mourinho’s squad at Porto. Indeed, it was Wolves sub Adama Traore who almost scored in Fergie-time at the end with a shot again kicked away by De Gea’s boot.

No wonder Wolves fans were chanting “Nuno’s The Special One” at the end.

Mourinho cut a frustrated figure on the touchline and made two substitutions almost immediately after Wolves scored

Mourinho cut a frustrated figure on the touchline and made two substitutions almost immediately after Wolves scored

Neves was given a yellow card by referee Kevin Friend after he cynically brought down Pogba in the middle of the pitch

Neves was given a yellow card by referee Kevin Friend after he cynically brought down Pogba in the middle of the pitch

Lukaku had a glorious chance to put the hosts back in front but he headed wide from close range, only to be flagged offside

Lukaku had a glorious chance to put the hosts back in front but he headed wide from close range, only to be flagged offside

Pogba reacts angrily as he watches another chance go to waste and United drop another two points in the title race

Pogba reacts angrily as he watches another chance go to waste and United drop another two points in the title race

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