Manchester United under-23s were well-beaten in Friday night’s Manchester derby at the Academy Stadium.
Rivals Manchester City asserted their dominance from an early stage and were deserved victors.
That it took as many as 14 minutes for Manchester City to take the lead was surprising. The home side dominated the first half, controlling possession and breaking through United’s defence whenever space opened up.
Liam Delap had City’s best chance of the opening 10 minutes but his attempted casual sidefoot span back off his heel and allowed Will Fish to clear. City soon went ahead as Alvaro Fernandez gifted possession away, a trait of his game which was on show far too frequently on Friday night.
Edozie puts City in front against United U18s
Fernandez was looking to pass it inside to Svidersky but his ball was intercepted by Lavia and the City man poked it across the face of goal for Edozie to control and finish easily into an almost open net.
United U18s sloppy in possession in face of ruthless rivals
United did respond well and their game steadily improved throughout the game. Ondrej Mastny was sporadically called on to make important saves and that gave United decent foundations on which to try and mount a comeback. Anthony Elanga often showed good footwork around the box but his final action – whether it be pass or shot – was off. In fairness, City’s Bernabé was in fine form in defence against the Swedish winger.
United’s build-up play was most effective on the right flank where Charlie Wellens filled in at right-back. The absence of Harvey Neville was notable. The youngster looks set to leave United having been rumoured to be on trial at Inter Miami.
City score twice in second half to dash hopes of United comeback
City doubled their lead after half-time with a screamer from Cole Palmer, who often impresses in games against United. From 25 yards out, Palmer struck with venom. United’s hopes of coming from behind were not completely dashed yet but continued sloppiness in possession made things difficult.
With 77 minutes gone, the result was put beyond doubt. Once again, Fernandez, who has been so consistent this season but had a poor game, conceded possession. This time the Spaniard swung his foot at the ball missed it and thus allowed Doyle to move forward, lay it off to Palmer and the Englishman scored his second of the game. The finish was excellent, curled brilliantly with his left foot.
Anthony Elanga, despite a couple of missed chances, was United’s best player on the night. He continued to push forward and provoke the City defence constantly despite the opposition’s lead growing.
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