U21s: Sunderland 1-1 United – Superb finish from midfielder not enough

by Tracey Germaine

The 10 men of Manchester United’s U21s managed to hold on for a 1-1 with Sunderland in a breezy evening at the Stadium of Light.

Man United took the lead with a lovely finish from Andreas Pereira but Sunderland equalised through Mikael Mandron. Tyler Blackett was sent off with 37 minutes remaining but the Reds managed to secure a draw.

Sadiq El Fitouri made his debut for the U21s as James Wilson dropped back down to u21 level again and Nick Powell missed out as a result of an injury picked up in the last u21 match.

Andreas Pereira gave United the lead in the 19th minute, finishing off a good passage of play which he started. He ran forward with James Weir and Wilson providing movement ahead of him before a goalmouth scramble ended up back at the feet of Pereira, who put power into his shot and struck it into the back of the net.

A short while later Weir was fouled in the Sunderland half and took a quick free-kick to set Wilson through on goal with only one defender for company. However the referee decided to pull the ball back and United lost the advantage that they had attempted to claim.

Mikael Mandron brought the home side back level in the 36th minute. Tom Thorpe had made a series of blocks in the box but eventually Mandron got a shot off and Joel Pereira was unsighted in the goal as Liam Grimshaw was between him and play. As a result the United keeper wasn’t able to prevent the Black Cats from scoring.

Wilson went off in the 39th minute amidst injury concerns but he confirmed to MUTV that it was nothing serious, just a dead leg which he couldn’t run off. Top scorer for the U18s last season, Ashley Fletcher, replaced him. Josh Harrop was also replaced at half-time as a result of a niggling groin injury which he has been carrying since his last international duty for England.

The main talking point of the second half came in the 53rd minute. Andreas Pereira won a free-kick having been clipped from behind in the Sunderland half. As United prepared to take the free-kick, Tyler Blackett was involved in an altercation which saw him raise his hands to a Sunderland player who he pushed in the face. He received a straight red card and his suspension will also apply for first-team games.

A shuffle took place after the Reds were reduced to ten men. Donald Love moved from right-back into centre-back alongside Thorpe while El Fitouri fell back into the more familiar position of right-back. United held off attempts from Sunderland to score another and a draw was probably the fairest result.

That point sees United go clear at the top of the Under 21 Premier League Division 1 Table, but several of the teams below, including Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, have matches in hand which if they win would see them leapfrog back over the Reds.

Manchester United: J. Pereira, Love, Thorpe, Blackett, James, El Fitouri, Grimshaw, A. Pereira, Weir, Wilson.
Unused Substitutes: O’Hara,
Cards: Goss (yellow); Blackett (red).
Goals: A. Pereira.

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