Another Joe Hugill brace earned Manchester United an important three points in Friday afternoon’s U18 Premier League match against Middlesbrough.
The former-Sunderland striker has had an electric start to life at United. His U18s record is now four goals in only two games.
Charlie Wellens was also on the scoresheet for Neil Ryan’s United side who now move up to fourth in the table, behind Liverpool on goal difference.
There were impressive displays from Alejandro Garnacho and Zidane Iqbal.
Video: Hugill gives United lead
Only three minutes had gone when Hugill grabbed his first of the game, latching on to a loose bouncing ball in the area. He prodded it goalwards and though the finish was an instinctive thrash that beat Middlesbrough’s Oliver Swann.
Despite the advantage, United were fortunate to go in at the break leading. A moment of panic from Johan Guadagno in goal put hearts in mouth and United struggled to cope with a strong wind going against them.
Zidane Iqbal put in a goal-saving last-ditch challenge to maintain United’s lead too. At the other end, Alejandro Garnacho stormed past his marker, and poked it towards goal. Swann saved well with his legs and had to be good to deny Charlie Wellens from a late free-kick too, tipping his effort wide.
After the break, ‘Boro continued to threaten and United’s desire to play out from the back caused some problems. Neil Ryan had a word with his players and dished out some advice.
Hoogewerf did well to control a dinked ball from Fernandez, made space for himself but got under his left-footed shot and hit it over. Fernandez was involved once again moments later as he charged through the midfield and fed Hugill. The English forward’s touch was off and the chance went.
United got themselves back in some control with those chances and another came as Wellens pulled it back from the right for Garnacho. He too hit it over the crossbar.
“I need you to be organised,” was the shout from Neil Ryan on the touchline.
Hugill now has 4 goals in 2 games for United U18s
Some relief came from the Middlesbrough counter-attacks when Hugill tapped home a second. Hoogewerf had played it in from the edge of the box, Hughes stepped inside and pulled a short pass back across. Hugill drilled it home from fewer than 12 yards. It was a team goal with the move taking 12 passes to complete and involving eight different players.
Only two minutes later, it was three. The game had flipped entirely. United broke quickly, Garnacho pulled it back for Wellens and his first-time effort was excellent.
United forced to work hard to hold on for 3 points
Middlesbrough brought themselves back into it and forced United to work hard to maintain their lead. A wonderful 80th-minute half-volley from Willis gave ‘Boro a lifeline. It soared past Guadagno at his near post. He was diving twice more only a minute later as two more roaring drives came from the edge of the box.
Video: Individual brilliance from Hansen-Aaroen wraps up game
As the game entered added time, a wonderful piece of individual brilliance provided a final flourish to an entertaining fixture.
Isak Hansen-Aaroen hurdled a challenge on the right-wing, sent two defenders to the floor and finished past Swann. It was his first goal for the U18s.
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