Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Rafael’s brilliant strike from distance cancelled out Kenneth McEvoy’s opener, as both goals came courtesy of mistakes from either side.
Radamel Falcao received 72 minutes of game time, in a team that also featured James Wilson and Victor Valdes.
A surging run from right-back Kyle Walker-Peters was intervened by a foul from Andreas Pereira, but Grant Ward’s resulting free-kick went over the bar without troubling.
A loose ball was intercepted by James Wilson, and Rafael took charge, playing the ball into Radamel Falcao, and Bongani Khumalo’s tackle on the Colombian fell into the path of Sean Goss, whose first time effort fell just wide of the bottom corner.
Pereira saw a shot held before Joshua Onomah lashed wide at the other end.
Goss’ corner was then cleared as far as Reece James, whose first touch wasn’t the best, but he still managed to get his shot away, but it fell just wide of the post.
Spurs then took the lead against the run of play via a huge mistake from Joe Rothwell. Rafael’s throw-in found the number eight, and his attempted switched ball fell to McEvoy, who beat the challenge of Donald Love, and calmly slotted the ball past Victor Valdes.
Ward saw a tame shot held, but as United attempted to play out from the back, Love sold Liam Grimshaw short, and the ball found its way to Shaquile Coulthirst, whose shot deflected off Tom Thorpe and behind for a corner.
Another mistake led to the next goal, as goalkeeper Luke McGee threw the ball straight to Rafael, who took a touch to set, and fired a left foot shot that looped over the blushed keeper.
Love received the first booking of the night, and that was sandwiched between two vicious efforts from Pereira that flew just over the bar, but something we know that he is capable of producing, as the teams entered half-time all square.
It was a Pereira who had the first sight of goal after the interval, but his shot from range was held this time around.
A well-worked free-kick from Spurs led to McEvoy’s cross finding the head of Cameron Carter-Vickers, but his effort struck the bar, as Rafael cleared behind for a corner.
The keepers’ gloves were then worked, with William Miller’s shot held, likewise that of Wilson at the other end a minute later.
Another superb solo run from Rafael led to him pulling the ball back for Goss, whose first time effort struck Falcao, taking the pace off the ball, and allowing McGee to gather.
Rafael was involved again, receiving the ball back off Grimshaw after running in behind the Spurs backline, and his cross met the head of Wilson, but McGee held with ease.
Substitute Josh Harrop saw his shot deflect through to McGee before a United penalty appeal was waved away – Rafael’s cross was met by Pereira, who went down under the challenge. If it wasn’t a foul, a corner should’ve been awarded, but as it wasn’t, it made it all the more obvious that a penalty should have been awarded to the home side.
A fantastic run by Pereira was equalled by substitute Andy Kellett’s overlapping run, and the former played in the latter, whose pass across the box found Harrop, but Connor Ogilvie got his head to block the shot.
No winner was found, however, with both sides fighting hard but lacking the quality in the final third to win this contest.
Valuable game time for first team players that included Valdes, Rafael, Wilson and Falcao, will have done them the world of good.
United travel to Everton next Monday where they will be aiming to maintain top spot, but looking to improve on what is now three straight draws at this level.
Manchester United: Valdes; Rafael, Love, Thorpe, James (Kellett 62); Goss, Grimshaw, Rothwell (Tuanzebe 84); A. Pereira; Falcao (Harrop 72), Wilson.
Subs: Harrop, O’Hara, Kellett, Willock, Tuanzebe.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Tottenham: McGee; Walker-Peters, Khumalo, Carter-Vickers, Ogilvie; Lesniak (McEneff 87), Ward; McEvoy, Onomah (Amos 73), Miller; Coulthirst (Akindayini 79).
Subs: McEneff, Miles, Akindayini, McQueen, Amos.