Anthony Elanga’s comeback goal for Manchester United’s under-23s had a familiar feel to it.
There was a touch of individual brilliance about the finish, with Elanga skipping past a defender before unleashing an unstoppable shot high into the net.
Elanga’s strike put United’s under-23s 2-0 up, and while the team collapsed to lose 3-2, it was a reminder of his quality in his first match back from injury.
There was another factor behind Elanga’s goal too; a raking pass forward from Hannibal Mejbri.
The goal felt reminiscent of others Elanga had scored this season. He is striking up quite a partnership with Hannibal.
Two stars complement each other
Hannibal now has seven assists for the season at under-23 level. Four have been for Elanga.
Four of Elanga’s nine goals have been thanks to Hannibal’s passing.
These have all come in separate games, against Salford, Tottenham, Leicester, and West Ham.
The duo have an understanding which was evident from the goal in Elanga’s first game back.
Hannibal has an ability to pass from deep, and Elanga’s pace allows him to take advantage of the Frenchman’s vision.
Like the other goals Hannibal has assisted, this one last week began in United’s own half, with the team putting together a swift counter-attacking move.
Hannibal played the pass from a central position in his own half out wide into Elanga’s path. The pacy Swede did the rest.
It is clear Hannibal knows where Elanga is going to be, and how to put him in position to succeed.
Not many other midfielders would have the understanding, and the vision, to be able to pull off a high quality long pass into space.
This is a partnership which is noteworthy because it could blossom in the first team over the next couple of years.
Elanga was on the bench for United’s first team last week against Granada, while Hannibal has also trained with the first team over the past month.
There is a chance at least one of them could be included in the matchday squad at home to Granada on Thursday night, with United holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
Whenever they do eventually get their first team opportunity, it could come together, as it could help both players stand a better chance of success.
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