Manchester United managed to comeback to secure a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford thanks to a wonder strike from Rafael, as the Reds looked to recover from being knocked out of the Manchester Senior Cup by Bolton Wanderers.
The U21s were bolstered by first team squad members Victor Valdes, Rafael, James Wilson, and Radamel Falcao. However, Tottenham started brightly and captain, Tom Thorpe, was called upon early on to make a few well-timed challenges to cut out dangers.
It was Spurs who took the lead from a United throw in through Ken McEvoy. Joe Rothwell attempted to pass squarely across the front of the defence and McEvoy picked up the ball. Love failed to make a solid challenge and Valdes was unable to put McEvoy off his shot.
United then went on the attack with the ever-threatening Rafael. The Brazilian put in a good cross that Falcao couldn’t manage to get on the end off and then moments later it was Rafael’s time to shine. He showed good awareness when running back into his own position and managed to turn and control the Spurs’ keeper’s throw out. Rafael then lifted the ball over the keeper with his left foot from around 33 yards out.
Watch Rafael’s stunning goal here
As the game progressed, Andreas Pereira made a number of attempts on goal from distance but his shots when on target failed to trouble Spurs. Tottenham won a free-kick from which they played the ball forward and ended up rattling the crossbar with Valdes nowhere near the ball. Fortunately, Rafael was there showing his defensive composure to clear the ball.
Wilson was unfortunate to see a shot from distance and a header saved while Goss saw an attempt blocked by Falcao. The Colombian made way for Josh Harrop in the 71st minute as per Ryan Giggs’ half-time instructions. The game mostly petered at that stage, despite Wilson moving more centrally.
That’s the third league draw in a row in for the Reds. United remain top of the U21s Premier League by virtue of goal difference with that point but it’s a tight league with the top ten teams in the 12 team league in contention for the top spot and several teams have matches in hand on United.
Manchester United: Valdes, Rafael, Thorpe (c), Love, James (Kellett 62′), Grimshaw, Rothwell (Tuanzebe 83′), Goss, A. Pereira, Wilson, Falcao (Harrop 71′).
Unused Substitutes: O’Hara, Willock.
Man of the Match: Rafael.