3 goals in 3 for Pellistri: Manchester United U23 held by ten-man City

Manchester United were held by ten-man Manchester City in an end-to-end thriller of a derby at under-23s level in Premier League 2.

The Reds had completed a first-half comeback after trailing early on. Facundo Pellistri scored his third in three league games to tap home a cross from Ethan Laird and put United 2-1 up. That goal came moments after City’s Bernabe had been sent off.

But City showed their quality in the second half. They equalised early on after the break and then looked the more likely to grab a winner.

The result leaves United in sixth in Premier League 2, while City move top.

United concede early opener to City

It was remeniscent of some of United’s first team performances when United trailed early on. Bernabe was left in acres of space on the left flank and had the wherewithall to find McAtee. He duly finished the chance.


United responded well and had the momentum when Hannibal Mejbri, excellent throughout, was brought down inside the area. It was a tight decision for the referee but Ethan Galbraith took full advantage. Ever cool under pressure, the Northern Irishman tucked home into the bottom right corner.

A minute later, Mejbri was brought down again, three yards away this time, just outside the penalty area. It was only a free-kick this time but it summed up Mejbri’s first-half impact. City couldn’t deal with the Frenchman and brought him down whenever they could.

Bernabe, the maker of City’s opener, was sent off for a studs-up challenge midway through the first half. The Spaniard overran the ball and tried to make up for it with a lunging foot but he was rightfully given a red.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Pellistri scores third goal in three games for Manchester United U23

Mejbri and Galbraith pulled the strings for United but it was Facundo Pellistri to get the second. Puigmal was involved on the right before Ethan Laird took hold of the ball on the edge of the area, pushed inside, onwards to the byline, gave a little shimmy of the body before picking out Pellistri perfectly. Pellistri took a touch to shift it onto his other foot before tucking it home.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

It seemed inevitable that United would win. They had the momentum and the extra man. But City did fantastically after the break and a point was fortunate in the end for Neil Wood’s side.

City equalise with Harwood-Bellis

United could have gone ahead thanks to a wonderful first-time Puigmal finish but Pellistri was deemed offside in the build-up. City took advantage, scoring an equaliser only three minutes later. United ‘keeper Woolston flapped at a corner and Harwood-Bellis tucked it home, getting in front of his marker Brandon Williams.

It became an exciting game. Woolston made up for his small error with a stunning double save. United replaced Pellistri with Joe Hugill before McAttee, scorer of City’s first, attempted an audacious 40-yard lob. It beat Woolston but he was denied by the post.

United should be disappointed with a point against ten men

Elanga headed over the bar for United from a good cross. City were the aggressor of the second half and probably deserved to win. It’s a disappointment for United who should have taken the game away from their rivals once they had a man advantage.

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.