Hat-trick scorer Shola Shoretire led Manchester United in a remarkable comeback at home to Blackburn Rovers in Premier League 2.
January signing Amad Diallo created three goals and scored one in another fantastic performance by the Ivorian winger.
Defensive mistakes allowed Blackburn to lead for much of the game, and on three separate occasions too, but United’s quality in attack was too good for the visitors.
It’s the second consecutive United under-23s game in which nine or more goals have been scored. Neil Wood’s team are guaranteed entertainers. There have been 78 goals scored in United’s 14 Premier League 2 games this season, an average of more than five per game.
Mistakes make life difficult for Manchester United under-23s
As ever with Manchester United this season, mistakes at the back made life hard. The under-23s must cut out the all-too-frequent gifting of possession and chances if they are to have success as a team.
Neil Wood’s side has an immense attacking ability, summed up no better than through Amad Diallo and Hannibal Mejbri. That combination of defensive errors and attacking brilliance means this is a United side who always entertain. Last week’s 6-3 defeat of Liverpool made headlines for Joe Hugill’s four-goal haul and Amad Diallo’s encouraging debut. Amad was once again in excellent form.
Dylan Levitt’s poor pass, sent meekly across the face of his own goal, allowed Blackburn to take an early lead. McBride intercepted the pass well and finished calmly past Mastny.
United tend to respond well to going behind and did so once again. It was Hannibal, influential in a roaming role that was anchored on the left wing, who scored it. United built the move patiently with Amad, Shoretire and Hannibal all involved before the latter sat his defender on the floor with good feet and finished well with his left foot.
Hannibal and Amad key to United attacking efforts
The Frenchman would be involved in United’s second but before then, the Reds trailed again. Harvey Neville got caught under the ball and instead Blackburn’s Barnes won it and directed it past Mastny.
Once again, United responded in good fashion but Neil Wood will be frustrated at how many his side are conceding. With Teden Mengi and Di’Shon Bernard away on loan, injury to Will Fish recently means United had no fit defenders. Galbraith and Devine (CM and LB respectively) formed the central partnership at the back.
Amad Diallo sets up Shoretire for United equaliser
Mejbri created United’s second with a world-class pass that took the Blackburn full-back out of the game. Amad Diallo controlled the pass, sent from the centre out onto the right wing, and set up Shoretire to poke it home.
Eight minutes after half-time, Blackburn restored their lead thanks to a soft penalty. Reece Devine was aggrieved when a light hand on his on-running opposite number saw him tumble to the ground. The referee made the wrong decision and McBride converted the penalty well for his second of the game.
United’s task grew tougher when the visitors scored their fourth. Alvaro Fernandez was beaten too easily on the right-wing. His fall to the ground allowed Pike to charge into the empty space and tee up a stretching Nolan whose effort beat Mastny.
United worked hard to muster another comeback. Amad Diallo should have scored his third goal for the club when he was set up with an excellent pass by Shoretire. Amad’s first touch was equally good but with only the ‘keeper to beat, he fired powerfully into Eastham’s chest.
With roles reversed after 72 minutes, Shoretire made no mistake in getting United back into the game. Amad’s cross from the right was perfect, Shoretire’s run was well-timed and his header was powerful enough to beat Eastham.
Only a minute later, Neville’s equally-excellent cross was met at the back post by Hugill for a second header in as many minutes. It’s Hugill’s ninth goal in 16 appearances for the under-23s.
Shola Shoretire scores hat-trick for United U23s
Only four minutes later, Shoretire had his third of the evening and United’s comeback was complete. All three of his goals were set-up by Amad Diallo. On this occasion, the former-Atalanta man showed intelligence and composure as a loose ball fell to him in the box. He paused and laid it off to the on-running Shoretire who duly finished.
After three assists, Amad got his goal to wrap the game up for United. In the build-up, he had patiently waited on the edge of the box looking for an opportunity.
Unable to find it, he shifted it to Shoretire who passed it onto Charlie McCann. It was the ex-Coventry midfielder who spotted left-back Fernandez running into the box and expertly executed the chipped pass. Fernandez pulled it back to Amad and he ruthlessly finished past Eastham.
It was an exceptionally good performance from United. They did not deserve to trail to Blackburn and knew it, forcing the issue particularly in the second half and playing some stunning football. Every player had one stand-out moment. Neil Wood will be delighted in the end.
- Five substitutes rule change would benefit Manchester United whoever is in charge
- Manchester City out of Carabao Cup: Did Manchester United miss out or have lucky escape?
- Three steps Solskjaer can take to avoid bowing out like Jose Mourinho
- Manchester United’s players pictured back in training
- Raphael Varane’s possible return would be Manchester United’s best case scenario