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Academy Match report: Dinamo Zagreb 4-5 Manchester United u19s

by Colm Murphy

Manchester United U19s took on hosts, Dinamo Zagreb, in their third and final group stage match of the Mladen Ramljak Memorial Tournament on Saturday.

In what was a must-win encounter to reach the finals on Sunday, the match got off to a bad start for United when Dinamo scored the opening goal in just the third minute. A corner delivered in from the left was flicked on at the near post and over Elyh Harrison in the goal.

Dinamo were very much on top in the opening exchanges, playing with a high tempo and physicality, but United were able to pull it back within ten minutes of falling behind.

Finley McAllister curled the ball into the box from the right to find Victor Musa whose header was deflected up and looped over the keeper into the goal.

Within seconds of Musa’s goal, United had added another. Jack Moorhouse went on a sensational driving run past the Dinamo defenders to break into the box before the ball found its way to Ethan Williams to strike home from eight yards out.

It was proving to be the match of the tournament as both sides went end to end, entertaining the sizeable crowd of Dinamo supporters.

In the 32nd minute, Dinamo hit on the break to draw it level at 2-2 before going into the halftime break.

Dinamo came firing out of the gates in the second half with a spell of dominance and it proved too much for United to handle as the Croatians restored their earlier lead eight minutes after the restart with a strike from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner.

Five minutes later, Dinamo increased their lead with a quick attack originating from a throw-in to get down the right wing and into the box to finish past Harrison.

It looked like it was all going the way of Dinamo but in the 57th minute, Musa cut in from the right and attempted a curling shot that had a luck of fortune as the defender’s attempted headed clearance was miscued and took the ball past the keeper to give United a lifeline.

The goal gave United a boost and just four minutes later, United hit the back of the net again to make it 4-4. Jack Moorhouse broke into the box and struck at goal for which the keeper could only parry out to the prowling Gabriele Biancheri to finish from the rebound.

The goals weren’t done there either, in the 64th minute Williams played a brilliant pass to Musa at the edge of the box who took the ball on the turn and hit the far right post but fortune was in United’s favour again as the ball bounced straight to James Scanlon to tap into the open net.

The remaining 16 minutes saw Dinamo piling on the pressure to grab a late result but the resilient United youngsters managed to hold on to the final whistle to secure the three points and top the group to qualify for Sunday’s final.

A gruelling schedule of four matches in four days ends on Sunday morning with United taking on Feyenoord, managed by former Manchester United star striker Robin van Persie.

United: Harrison, McAllister (Missin 58), Fitzgerald, Jackson, Kamason, Moorhouse (Devaney 73), Baumann (Munro 41), Williams, Scanlon, Musa, Biancheri

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