Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Manchester United Reach the UEFA Youth League Play off for the First Time



Manchester United's Under-19s defeated CSKA Moscow 1-0 at Leigh Sports Village, thanks to Joshua Bohui's early penalty.

Nicky Butt's side were already guaranteed second spot in Group A before a ball was kicked after Basel's 0-0 draw with Benfica earlier in the day, due to the Swiss side's superior head-to-head record on the away goals ruling. It means the Reds face a one-off match away from home in order to clinch a place in the round of 16.

It may have taken some of the sting out of the occasion but the hosts were still quick out of the blocks and looking dangerous. Nice work by Tahith Chong and Aidan Barlow led to a cross by Lee O'Connor but Bohui could not direct his header on target.

Moments later, a neat touch by Bohui enabled Chong, making his first UEFA Youth League appearance after a long injury lay-off, to accelerate through the defence, only for keeper Nikolai Zirikov to bring him down. Referee Robert Hennessey pointed to the spot and Bohui stroked the penalty home.

United's tails were up and Angel Gomes released Chong again with a clever through ball, with Zirikov forced to make an awkward one-handed save when off balance. Bohui was also clean through one-on-one following fine work by Ethan Laird and the left-back's pass with the outside of his boot. Zirikov dived to his left to pull off a smart stop.

Maksim Eleev made a good clearance to a Bohui centre, after he was played in by Indy Boonen, as the home side appeared to be slicing the Russians apart at will. However, Ruslan Fischenko forced a top-drawer save out of Alex Fojticek and CSKA finished the half better once Gomes had hobbled off just past the half-hour mark.

After the break, although Bohui elected to pass when a shot looked on as his clever turn to a Chong pass left him in the clear, the visitors began to carry the greater threat. Fojticek kept out a Nikita Matskharashvili free-kick and dived to thwart Ivan Oleynikov with Nayair Tiknizyan lashing the rebound wide.

Ethan Hamilton warmed Zirikov's hands from distance and Barlow scooped a Nishan Burkart centre wide, following a rare contested drop-ball, as United got on top again, only for Tiknizyan to work Fojticek in response.

Quite how a second goal did not arrive, five minutes from time, was a mystery when the excellent Laird teed up Hamilton. Zirikov repelled the powerful attempt and Boonen's follow-up deflected off the line with Burkart unable to apply the finishing touch.

More drama came late on, with Tiknizyan looking certain to claim an equaliser until Fojticek pulled off another first-class save to preserve the clean sheet and give the Reds much to look forward to against a side from the domestic champions route of the competition.

No comments:

Post a Comment