Manchester United and Athletic Bilbao played out a 1-1 draw in Dublin in the last of eight pre-season games.
A largely second choice Manchester United side had to come from behind yesterday to secure a draw with Athletic Bilbao.
A day after the first team had beaten Lens 3-1, Erik ten Hag’s B-team drew the game against Bilbao thanks to Facundo Pellistri‘s last gasp equaliser.
Bilbao had scored in the first half after an error from Harry Maguire, who atoned for his mistake with an assist for Pellistri’s late goal.
Bilbao boss reacts to United draw
The match was a useful one for Athletic Bilbao, who kick off their La Liga campaign against Real Madrid in a week’s time.
Manager Ernesto Valverde spoke to AS after the game and admitted Manchester United caught his side off guard early on when Facundo Pellistri put Jadon Sancho through on goal. Afterwards he felt his side settled well.
Valverde said: “Match against an opponent of a good level, in an unbeatable stadium. We started badly, in the first minutes they surprised us with some play in which Sancho was left alone against Unai, but then we settled down and we were much better.”
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Sancho showed hesitancy when he was in on goal, unlike his clinical strike against Arsenal in New York. He cut inside to shoot with his left foot and saw his foot saved.
It came from an excellent pass from Facundo Pellistri, who seized his own opportunity late in the game when the ball dropped at his feet.
Bilbao were good value for their lead at half time and it took a red card, forced by a quick turn from Hannibal, which brought United back into the game.
Reflecting on United’s late equaliser, he simply said: “It’s difficult,” when asked about trying to defend a lead against a team with United’s quality. He added: “It’s a good test, it’s a shame that in the end they tied us.”
The AS match review noted the redemption moment of Manchester United’s former captain for the equaliser, reporting: “Maguire took the sting out of his colossal mistake, with one of his numerous headers, this time with an assist to Pellistri. End to so many minutes of titanic resistance.”
A useful workout for United too
Even though this was not Manchester United’s first team, every player who featured will be glad to get some valuable game time under their belt, which is what pre-season is all about.
Erik ten Hag said after the game it was a useful exercise to play against 10 men too, and try and make the advantage count.
He told club media: “It was a good drill, I would say. When you have the opportunity in pre-season, you have to take that opportunity when you are playing against 10.
“We put three at the back and put an extra offensive player in, in Noam [Emeran]. We go more direct and we created some good chances from it.”