Man United Legend Mark Hughes: His Ten Best Utd Goals
In two separate spells with Manchester United spanning 12 seasons, Mark Hughes scored 163 goals in 467 appearances, with barely a tap-in among them.
Here’s a non-definitive list of ten of the Welshman’s very best strikes for the club, well, nine of them and one for his country (which is just too good to leave out).
10. Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool, League Cup 3rd round, 31 October 1990 (0.36 seconds in)
Sir Alex Ferguson once rated Hughes the best big game player he’s ever known, an assessment no doubt partly based on Sparky’s ability to come up trumps against Liverpool. Aside from scoring the winner in a pulsating 1985 FA Cup semi-final replay, he also skewered the Reds with a narrow-angle thump in a 1989 New Year’s Day comeback win and hit a memorable match-saving double in an October 92 league meeting. This was probably the pick of his Pool-busting bunch, though, a rampaging Hughes shrugging off Jan Molby and biffing an unstoppable dipper over Bruce Grobbelaar’s head.
9. Manchester United 4-2 West Ham, FA Cup quarter-final, 9 March 1985 (o.43s)
Hughes’ classy Cup portfolio contains this two-footed gem, a reminder of how good his touch was even before he brushed his skills up in a two-season sabbatical with Barcelona and then Bayern Munich.
8. Manchester United 5-0 Sheffield Wednesday, Premier League, 16 March 1994 (3.09)
The mullet was lacking its early splendour but the brute power remained, as illustrated by this comic-strip piledriver past a flailing Kevin Pressman.
7. Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace, Premier League, 21 April 1993
Cantona’s feathered delivery gets the finish it deserves as Hughes all but seals United’s first league title in 26 years with an exquisite far-post volley.
6. United 1-1 Everton, League Division One, 30 October 1988 (0.36)
The average striker would opt to head Clayton Blackmore’s teasing cross or try to bring it down. Operating on a different plane, the balletic Hughes meets it with a Cruyffesque stab to send Neville Southall into one of his strops. This and other moments of genius led to the first of two PFA Player of the Year awards.
5. United 1-0 Sheffield United, FA Cup 3rd Round, 9 January 1994 (6.34)
Another example of Hughes’ deft touch and proof that there was more in his locker than chunky thighs and a sledgehammer right foot. Sashaying his way through the Blades defence with Cantona and Ince for support, he dusts off the left peg to complete a mesmerising goal. A red card followed for a lusty kick on David Tuttle, the spiky striker having earlier put the boot in on Chris Kamara. All in all a productive day’s work then.
4. United 1-1 Oldham aet, FA Cup semi-final, 10 April 1994
More career-defining Cup heroics. The Welsh wizard ends up on his backside here, but not before cocking that golden right leg and volleying a last-minute reprieve for his side.
3. United 1-5 Manchester City, League Division One, 23 September 1989 (1.31)
Peeling off at the far post, the bicycle-kick king steadies himself to dispatch Russell Beardsmore’s teasing centre in regal style. It was City’s parade, no question of that, but Hughes still managed to piss on some of it.
2. United 2-1 Barcelona, European Cup Winners Cup Final, 15 May 1991
“There’s a chance for another one here. Maybe not now ...” Don’t be so negative, Brian. That angle might look pretty tight to you and me, and it is the closing stages of a tight European final and all, but this is Mark Hughes we’re talking about here. A preposterous goal.
1. Wales 3-0 Spain, Mexico 1986 World Cup qualifier, 30 April 1985
There are some great volleys, such as Jeremy Goss’ Elland Road jaw-dropper, that you might just be able to recreate down the park ... one day. And there are others that you, and the vast majority of professionals for that matter, never will. Zinedine Zidane’s Champions League-winner is one. This spring-loaded, no-holds-barred scissor-kick is another.