Saturday, January 21, 2017 8:47 pm
Wayne Rooney on Saturday became Manchester United’s all-time leading goal scorer with a sensational stoppage-time free-kick that rescued a point at Stoke City.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that substitute Rooney curled in from the left-hand corner of the penalty box for his 250th United goal, one more than Sir Bobby Charlton.
Stoke looked set for a third straight Premier League win, clinging to a lead given to them when Juan Mata poked Erik Pieters’ cross into his own net in the 18th minute.
Rooney, so often the fulcrum of the United side since joining from Everton as an 18-year-old in 2004, has had to make do with a bit-part role under Jose Mourinho this season.
Indeed, this 546th appearance came from the bench, but still delivered a moment of history.
United had been frustrated for so long by Stoke’s stoic defence and their own wastefulness, and a free-kick awarded just outside the home penalty area looked to be the visitors’ last chance as five minutes of added time ticked down.
Rooney, largely ineffective since joining the action, looked prime to cross, but instead arced a wonderful, dipping, right-footed shot inside the far post past the previously unbeatable Grant.
Not only did the 31-year-old pass the mark of Charlton that had stood since 1973, but he gave United a point that looked to have gone.
United wasted chances, hit the woodwork and were denied by Potters keeper Lee Grant.
But their 25th and final effort at goal preserved a 17-game unbeaten run, albeit if the dropped points mean they lose ground in the race for the top four.
They are three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and 11 off leaders Chelsea, who both play on Sunday. (NAN)