Manchester United drew 1-1 with Swansea City in the second match of the Premier League 2 campaign and first game at home in Leigh Sports Village. A missed penalty from Mitchell left the first half goalless. Kenji Gorré opened the scoring but Indy Boonen salvaged a point with a goal 11 minutes from full-time.
Ricky Sbragia’s team were bolstered by the inclusion of first-teamers Luke Shaw and Ashley Young on their comeback from injury, as confirmed by Jose Mourinho on Friday. Meanwhile the Swans had two former United youth players in their starting XI – Tyler Reid at right full-back and Kenji Gorré on the left wing.
The U23s had made a winning start to the season with a 1-0 win over Leicester City last week, thanks to a free-kick from Demetri Mitchell. Elsewhere, the Swans had lost 2-0 to Liverpool. This was the first of three meetings at this level between the two sides, with a Premier League International Cup fixture in addition to the regular league schedule.
Axel Tuanzebe combined with RoShaun Williams to give fans of the u18s some nostalgia. Unfortunately the partnership didn’t last long. After just 30 seconds Williams was elbowed in the head by Courtney Baker-Richardson. After a medical assessment it was decided that the defender would be unable to continue and Tyrell Warren came on in his place.
Josh Bohui was brought down in the penalty area in by the Swansea captain, Joe Rodon, in the 7th minute. Bohui had crept past the defender and when Rodon realised his error he brought down the forward. Demetri Mitchell took the penalty but sent the ball wide of Gregor Zabret’s goal.
Swansea played quite a physical game in the first half, as evidenced by the two yellow cards that the referee brandished. Matthew Willock also received a yellow for a challenge. Outside of that, Joel Pereira‘s goal wasn’t really troubled, as Tuanzebe and Warren showed on several occasions that they had the beating of the Welsh side’s forwards.
United’s best chance from open play in the first half came from captain Scott McTominay. Matthew Willock picked up the ball on the edge of the area and turned to strike goalwards. The ball came off McTominay, whose backheel sent the ball just wide of the goal.
Just eight minutes after the restart Swansea took the lead. Ex-United player Gorré was facing Warren and Matthew Olosunde on the right side of the penalty area but both backed away sufficiently for him to have space for the shot which whistled past Joel Pereira and into the back of the net. The goal came against the run of play and was Swansea’s first shot of the game.
The Reds almost equalised straight away but Mitchell’s miscued cross hit the crossbar. With just under an hour played, Shaw and Young made way to be replaced by Joe Riley and Tosin Kehinde. Shaw will be the happier of the two with his performance which was solid, while Young looks as though he’ll need more minutes before he’s back in contention for the first team.
With just over ten minutes remaining Indy Boonen, who played brightly throughout the match, scored the equaliser for United. Bohui’s initial shot deflected several times in the Swansea penalty area in a pinball style. Boonen managed to take it and with a composed touch deftly floated into the net past Rogon. It was the Belgian forward’s first goal at U23s level.
Both sides looked for a possible winning goal but neither could find it and the game ended honours even although United should feel disappointed not to come away with a victory. United will next take on Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening (KO 7pm).
Man United: J. Pereira, Olosunde, Williams (Warren 4′), Tuanzebe, Shaw (Riley 58′), Young (Kehinde 58′), Willock, McTominay (c), Mitchell, Bohui, Boonen.
Unused Substitutes: Richardson, Hamilton.
Goal(s): Boonen (79′).
Booking(s): Willock (30′).
Man of the Match: Indy Boonen.
Swansea City: Zabret, Reid, Lewis, Maric, Harries, Rodon, Garrick, Evans (Dulca 69′), Baker-Richardson (Cullen 80′), Byers, Gorre
Unused Substitutes: Thomas, Plezier, Bainbridge.
Goal(s): Gorré (53′).
Booking(s): Gorré (26′), Evans (33′), Byers (63′).