5-Methylfurfural (MF) is a critical commodity chemical used as food additive and synthetic intermediate. Opening a sustainable route towards highly selective synthesis of MF from 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is of great significance, but has demonstrated extremely challenging. Herein, we report an efficient process for the selective production of MF from HMF over an anatase-supported gold catalyst (Au/a-TiO2). During the hydrogenolysis of HMF, the desired C=O bond is maintained and MF can be obtained in a high yield of 83.1%, exhibiting excellent stability both in batch and flow operation. A combination of experimental and theoretical analyses attribute the superior performance of Au/a-TiO2 to the synergistic effect of limited H access, low adsorption of reactants, and avoiding condensation, driven by the high concentration of oxygen vacancies in the support. This study highlights a novel approach of tailoring the coverage of active species for the selective transformation of renewable compounds into high-value-added chemicals.