Manchester United’s Under-19s won away from home against Real Sociedad to secure a crucial three points in the UEFA Youth League.
Group A leaders Real Sociedad had not dropped a point in the competition going into the match with three wins from three games.
The young Reds went into the tie needing a win having picked up only three points from their previous three matches. They were also missing Ben Pearson due to a suspension as a result of two yellow cards picked up in the reverse fixture.
United took the lead after just 12 minutes. Sam Byrne made a great run down the right wing and whipped in a good cross to the far post which James Wilson volleyed home. That was Wilson’s fourth goal in as many matches in the competition.
After Wilson’s goal, the home side surged forward with attack after attack and really worked the United keeper Joel Pereira. Luckily he was equal to the task and saved all of Sociedad’s eight shots on target.
Roughly half an hour into the match, the Basque team had a goal disallowed. Martin Merquelanz’s initial shot was saved by Joel Pereira then Odei Arrieta slid in to force the ball across the goal line, fouling Pereira in the process. Thankfully the officials spotted the infringement and United remained in the lead.
Real Sociedad continued to pile on the pressure after the break but it was the Reds who managed to put the ball in the back of the net. Byrne was on hand to set up the goal, passing to Joe Rothwell who ran through on goal and finished coolly. That brings Byrne’s tally for assists up to three, placing among the top providers in the youth competition.
The Spanish side continued to pose a threat as they attempted to get back into the game but their attempts were either saved or off target.
Sociedad had made all three substitutions by the hour mark and as a result they were reduced to ten men when their defender Tarantino limped off injured near the end of the match.
Elsewhere in Group A, Bayer Leverkusen scored two goals late on to peg back Shakhtar Donetsk and secure a 2-2 draw. This means that Donetsk are currently only one point ahead of United in second place which is a boost to the Reds qualifying hopes.
Overall, it was a very impressive result for the young Reds away from home. Hopefully the confidence they gained will help them in the remaining two fixtures in the group against Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Dontesk.
Unused Subs: Henderson, Willock, Redmond, Ashley Fletcher.
Yellow Cards: Rothwell, A. Pereira and Weir.