Manchester United welcomed back Hannibal from injury as he made his first under-23 appearance since September.

The Tunisian superkid had trained with Manchester United’s first team in midweek.

He was asked to shoulder a creative burden as United’s under-23s took on Derby County.

United were without both Amad and Anthony Elanga, who had starred in the previous under-23 win over Leeds, while Shola Shoretire was also missing.

hannibal assist
(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Hannibal makes the breakthrough

Derby proved resolute opponents on home turf as they lined up with ex Celtic goalkeeper David Marshall, and Louie Sibley, who featured for the Rams’ first team against United in the FA Cup two seasons ago.

Derby took a 1-0 lead in the second half before Hannibal’s incisive pass from the halfway line split the Derby defence.

It was a moment of genius and showed why he is so highly rated.

The pass set Charlie McNeill through on goal, and while he did not place his shot particularly well, he struck it hard and low and it squeeze between the goalkeeper’s legs to nestle in the back of the net.

 

Hannibal was taken off shortly after, with the assist his last act of the game, with United watching his minutes as he made his comeback.

United almost won the game in injury time, but Alejandro Garnacho’s shot from close range in a goalmouth scramble trickled just wide.

A draw was a fair reflection on both teams, with United unable to create enough openings to really trouble Derby enough.

Hannibal wrote on Instagram after the game how happy he was to be back.

An important step

This was Hannibal’s second assist of the season, the first in the under-23 league, with the other coming in the EFL Trophy.

With Paul Pogba out injured, there is a remote possibility he could begin to start pushing for a first team spot over the next month.

We all know United need more midfield talent, and he has it in abundance.

This was an important step, to get back onto the pitch, and to make a difference.

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