Coutinho crashes in equaliser as Man United held at Villa

The former Liverpool attacker scores on his debut for Steven Gerrard’s team

Aston Villa’s manager Steven Gerrard gives instructions to Philippe Coutinho before coming on at Villa Park. Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP

Aston Villa’s manager Steven Gerrard gives instructions to Philippe Coutinho before coming on at Villa Park. Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP

 

Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 2

Superb sub Philippe Coutinho sealed a stirring Aston Villa comeback as Steven Gerrard’s men fought back to claim a 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester United.

Having started the week by edging through to the FA Cup third round with a somewhat fortuitous win, Ralf Rangnick’s side looked on course for another hard-fought victory against Villa on Saturday evening.

A howler from Emiliano Martinez gifted Bruno Fernandes an early opener and the stand-in captain fired United further ahead at Villa Park, only for new boy Coutinho’s introduction to spark a fightback.

The former Liverpool star was involved in the build-up to Jacob Ramsey’s thumping strike, with the 20-year-old academy graduate then crossing for the Barcelona loanee to level in front of the Holte End on his Villa debut.

Aston Villa’s Philippe Coutinho celebrates his goal against Manchester United at Villa Park. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)
Aston Villa’s Philippe Coutinho celebrates his goal against Manchester United at Villa Park. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

It was a wild end to a thrilling, helter-skelter encounter that United started impressively, yet they failed to build on Fernandes’ hopeful 25-yard opener as Villa grew in confidence and began to frequently test David De Gea.

Fernandes looked to have won it when he fired home off the underside of the crossbar, but marquee January signing Coutinho helped turn things around on a night when fellow new boy Lucas Digne also impressed.

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