Hannibal and Garnacho shine in Manchester United UEFA Youth League clash as Red Devils lose on penalties
Manchester United are out of the UEFA Youth League after a penalty shootout defeat to Borussia Dortmund. The two teams had tied 2-2 in regular time.
Striker Charlie McNeill and defender Rhys Bennett scored United’s goals amid a highly competitive game which United mostly dominated, having to come from behind twice.
How United lined-up
XI: Vitek, Fernandez, Fish, Bennett, Jurado, Savage, Iqbal, Hannibal, Shoretire, Garnacho, McNeill
Substitutes: Mastny, Emeran, Hansen-Aaroen, Mather, Mainoo, Fredericson, Oyedele.
Our predicted XI was pretty close with nine starters correct, with Bennett and Iqbal selected ahead of Bjorn Hardley and Noam Emeran.
How the game went
Dortmund took an early lead, but it did not last long. United hit back almost instantly in the 20th minute after great work by Zidane Iqbal down the left. The Iraq international twisted and turned into the penalty area before passing to Charlie McNeill.
McNeill sold the defender a dummy before firing the ball high over the onrushing goalkeeper to equalise in clinical fashion. The goal came from was Iqbal’s first assist of the season, and was McNeill’s third in the Youth League.
Shola Shoretire came close to giving United the lead moments after, but his effort went over the bar, while Alejandro Garnacho had a shot from distance well saved.
United ended the first half on top, enjoying the lion’s share of possession, quickly winning the ball back when they lost it, and creating more opportunities.
Alejandro Garnacho buried a chance at the end of the half before being flagged, correctly, for offside. He had another disallowed early in the second half too.
He latched onto the end of a pass from Hannibal and curled his effort into the top corner, but the flag was up and the goal instantly ruled out.
Hannibal began to take over in the second half, given space to run at the Dortmund defence from midfield and pick his passes, he was a constant danger.
Dortmund then stunned United with a counter attack in the 68th minute, with former City prospect Jamie Bynoe Gittens scoring his second goal of the game.
Just like United’s first team, a failure to capitalise on top and make the most of the dominance, came back to hurt the side.
Garnacho should have equalised soon after when he did break the offside trap after another Hannibal through ball, only to fire his effort narrowly wide of the near post.
United then made a change with Shoretire coming off for winger Noam Emeran, while Isak Hansen-Aaroen replaced Zidane Iqbal.
United equalised through a surprise source, with defender Rhys Bennett lashing the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards out when the ball feel kindly to him from a poor Dortmund clearance.
McNeill felt he should have had a 90th minute penalty but the appeals were waved away by the referee. Charlie Savage’s late long range effort saved and the tie ended 2-2, going straight to penalties.
Going up against a German team in a penalty shootout is always daunting for an English club. Charlie McNeill was the first to falter as his strike hit the post, before goalkeeper Radek Vitek balanced the tie out by saving the following spot-kick.
Hannibal saw his effort saved next up, frustratingly, after scoring a penalty for the under-23s days earlier, before Noam Emeran’s penalty was also saved. Vitek could not repeat his heroics and United were out.
Three standout players
Hannibal was lively for United and at the centre of most of United’s good moments, particularly in the second half.
Captaining the side, he caused problems for Dortmund’s defence with his confidence in possession and ability to break the lines with his passing.
Zidane Iqbal also performed strongly, providing the assist for United’s goal, and looking like a class act every time he was in possession. He tired as the second half went on.
Alejandro Garnacho was United’s most dangerous forward cutting in from the left wing, having two goals disallowed for offside and constantly asking questions of Dortmund’s backline.
Most of United’s best moments came through him, with his efforts either saved or closed down at the very last moment. Just 17, the Spaniard is an excellent prospect for the future.