Home » Academy Match report: Manchester United u21s 1-1 Arsenal u21s

Academy Match report: Manchester United u21s 1-1 Arsenal u21s

by Colm Murphy

Manchester United u21s had a special occasion on Friday night as they were given the rare chance of playing at Old Trafford, where they hosted Arsenal.

Arsenal were on top early on and their first big chance came from Charles Sagoe Jr, who cut in past Louis Jackson and Omari Forson to strike with his left foot, forcing a good save from Elyh Harrison.

The opening 20 minutes continued to go Arsenal’s way, until they finally broke the deadlock. They were presented with a gift when Harrison tripped on the turf while attempting to control the ball, coughing it up for an easy tap in for Khayon Edwards.

United equalized just four minutes later though with a wonderful goal. The play started off with Dan Gore running 60 yards out of the United box, driving the team forward into Arsenal’s half before splitting the defence with a perfectly placed diagonal ball for Mateo Mejia to volley into the back of the net on the stretch.

Moving into injury time of the first half, Sagoe Jr was played in over the top on the right and took the ball down in stride before poking an effort at goal which was denied by the out rushing Harrison’s trailing arm to make a fantastic save.

Half time saw Mark Dempsey look to the bench and make a double introduction, with Marc Jurado and Isak Hansen-Aaroen coming on for Noam Emeran and Louis Jackson.

The second half started the same as the first as Arsenal came out on the front foot and looked to test early with Catalan Cirjan cutting in and skidding a low effort just inches wide of the left post.

In the 51st minute Matt Smith intercepted the ball in midfield and slipped through Sagoe Jr, who looked to fool Harrison with a near corner shot. But the United keeper was up to the task, getting a slight touch on the ball to put it off the inside of the post and out.

United immediately went up the other end and Mejia skipped away from the defender before laying off to Ethan Williams to strike with his right, but going for power over placement he put his effort too close to the Arsenal keeper who parried away.

In taking the shot, Williams felt a muscle strain and had to come off shortly after for Charlie Wellens.

The second half continued all one way with Arsenal peppering United’s box but Willy Kambwala and Harrison proved to be impressively tough to beat.

Into injury time, Arsenal chased for the winner and Amario Cozier-Duberry skipped past a number of United players before curling to the back post, but fortunately there wasn’t enough curl on it as it bounced wide.

United threw one final effort at it in the last second, with Hansen-Aaroen playing the one-two pass with Manni Norkett, but the ball was taken off the Norwegian’s boot in the box with a great last ditch tackle to keep the final score 1-1.

The draw sees United remain in 9th place but only one point off Arsenal in 6th.

Speaking after the match, United’s manager Dempsey was full of praise. He started with Harrison, saying “he’s gonna be a really good keeper by the way.”

Dempsey continued the plaudits with “I thought our defending at times, I thought Kambwala at times was magnificent. Delighted with the point, really pleasing that.”

United: Harrison, Kingdon, Jackson (Jurado 46), Kambwala, Murray, Huddlestone, Gore, Emeran (Hansen-Aaroen 46), Forson (Norkett 88), Williams (Wellens 66), Mejia

Unused subs: Mee

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