Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 to claim their third U21s Premier League title in four years at White Hart Lane.
Donald Love and Andreas Pereira gave United the lead with two gorgeous goals before William Miller reduced the deficit in the first half. Joe Pritchard equalised for Spurs before Guillermo Varela‘s extra-time goal sealed the victory and the title.
James Weir and Joe Rothwell were unavailable for selection having picked up injuries in last week’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough. Warren Joyce in his pre-match interview indicated that Weir may not feature again this season as a result of that knock.
A win over Spurs would guarantee that the U21s retained the Barclays Premier League title and United set out their stall early in search of the win. Before five minutes had been played, the Reds had the ball in the back of the net. Paddy McNair sent the ball into Andreas Pereira, who picked out Donald Love with a neat back-heel pass. Love powered the ball into the bottom corner with a right-footed shot to score his first goal in three and a half years.
Barely ten minutes later and Luke McGee, in the Spurs’ goal, was beaten again. Joe Riley switched the play with a cross-field ball to Guillermo Varela. The Uruguayan full-back curled a fabulous ball into the path of Andreas Pereira, who was playing as a striker with the lack of forwards available. Pereira volleyed into the back of the net.
However, Spurs weren’t out of the game just yet and the home side pulled a goal back in the 26th minute. Zenon Stylianides picked out the unmarked William Miller on the edge of the box and he steered the ball low into the far corner beyond the diving Joel Pereira.
Joel Pereira was on hand to save Harry Winks’ shot getting down low to his left. Moments later Spurs threatened again with a curling effort from Sterling going just outside of the post. The home team dominated the possession of the remainder of the half and United didn’t often venture outside of their half of the pitch.
Both sides were suffering from defensive issues at the start of the second half. Spurs sent the ball flashing across the face of goal. Shortly afterwards Axel Tuanzebe was nutmegged and Joel Pereira had to be on hand to prevent a goal. Down the other end of the pitch Luke McGee sent an awful kick straight to Love. The defender almost replicated his first half achievement by scoring in the opening five minutes of the second half however the Scottish u21 international sent his shot into the stand.
Anton Walkes saw a dipping volley go just over the crossbar. Scott McTominay came on to replace Devonte Redmond, who had a quiet game, and was quickly involved in the action. Love whipped the ball into the box and McTominay was fouled by McGee who then grabbed the back pass but no spot-kick was awarded.
Borthwick-Jackson was booked for a high boot with just under 20 minutes of normal time remaining. Andreas Pereira won a header ahead of Walkes and charged through on goal. Unsurprisingly he went for the shot, despite Love rushing into the box, but his curling effort hit the outside of the post.
United were almost made to rue those missed chances when Marcus Edwards’ cut-back from the right was converted by substitute Joe Pritchard from close range. Borthwick-Jackson saw a shot saved by McGee in the last minute of normal time. Edwards almost scored a winner in extra time but Joel Pereira was on hand to deny him.
However, in the fourth minute of added time, a Paddy McNair shot was blocked by Joshua Onomah on the line and rebounded out to Varela who volleyed home from 18 yards to claim the three points and the u21 Premier League trophy.
— Full Time DEVILS (@FullTimeDEVILS) April 19, 2016
Man United: J. Pereira (c), Varela, Tuanzebe, Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, El Fitouri, Love, McNair, Redmond (McTominay 62′), Riley, A. Pereira.
Unused Substitutes: Henderson, Poole, Reid, Mitchell.
Goal(s): Love (5′), A. Pereira (16′), Varela (90+4′).
Booking(s): Borthwick-Jackson (72′).
Man of the Match: Paddy McNair.
Tottenham Hotspur: McGee, Walker-Peters, Muscatt, Stylianides (Goddard 84′), Lesniak, Walkes, Sonupe (Edwards 72′), Winks, Sterling, Onomah, Miller (Pritchard 67′).
Unused Substitutes: Glover, Marsh.
Goal(s): Miller (26′), Pritchard (84′).
Booking(s): Onomah (55′).