Manchester United’s u18s took to the Cobham Training Ground yesterday to take on Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup.
Having successfully advanced in the FA Youth Cup during the week, the United youngsters were hoping to keep the chances of a cup double alive.
United got off to a good start nearly taking the lead in the eighth minute with a powerful header from Marc Jurado from a corner that pinged off the crossbar.
The woodwork was proving to be United’s enemy as the post was hit a minute later as well.
Maxi Oyedele forced the turnover with the team employing a high press and he found Alejandro Garnacho on the left, who hit across goal but it came off the post and Manni Norkett following in for the rebound could not find his feet to connect with the ball properly.
Chelsea began to get on the front foot and were peppering United’s area with crosses but the defenders did remarkably well to cut them out.
Omari Forson drew a strong save in the 16th minute after shimmying down the right and drilling a low effort to the near post which was palmed around for a corner.
Garnacho fed Sam Murray out the left wing and found the return ball in the area but got too much under his volley and soared it over the bar.
The Spaniard made no mistake a minute later though and put United in the lead in the 22nd. Chelsea couldn’t clear with the wind and the ball came down for Dan Gore to slide to Garnacho to dispatch with the inside of his boot.
Kobbie Mainoo had the tricks on display as he nutmegged the Chelsea defender and then drove inside before being fouled.
Chelsea got their first attempt on goal in the 32nd minute when Charlie Webster whipped a ball into Jude Soonsup-Bell who headed right into the corner but the outstretched Tom Wooster made an unbelievable save to retain the lead.
Chelsea came close again shortly after as Malik Mothersille broke down the right with pace and centred for Soonsup-Bell who redirected the ball off the post and out for a goal kick.
The half time break went in with the score 0-1 after 45 minutes of end to end attacking football from both sides which could have easily seen many more goals.
The second half wasn’t to disappoint the viewers either as United won a penalty within seconds. Norkett knocked the ball over the keeper and was taken out for a clear penalty. The striker stepped up to dispatch into the right corner to make it 0-2.
Chelsea came close again off a short corner when the cross was dragged by the wind and floated off the top of the crossbar.
The London side finally pulled one back a minute later in the 54th. After winning the ball in the midfield, Ronnie Stutter cut through the middle and slotted into the bottom left corner.
Chelsea were pounding on the door but Wooster came up with another big save off of a corner to keeper United in it.
After a poor decision from Charlie McNeill ignoring the pass in attack, Chelsea countered up the other end and equalised in the 76th minute through Mothersille.
A minute later, it was disaster as Chelsea completed the comeback and took the lead with another counter attack.
Racing down the left the Chelsea players weren’t picked up centrally and Silko Thomas was free in the box to score.
Sonny Aljofree had a chance to pull it back in the dying minutes as he rose on the corner for a free header but directed it just wide.
It wasn’t the last chance though as Forson created a big opportunity for himself with an unbelievable flick over the defender but then couldn’t find the composure on the finish and sent it wide.
The final whistle was blown and it was heartbreak for the United youngsters as they crashed out of the Premier League cup having lost a two goal lead.
United: Wooster, Jurado, Bennett, Aljofree, Murray, Mainoo, Oyedele, Gore (Ogunneye 81), Forson, Garnacho (Mather 56), Norkett (McNeill 68)
Unused subs: Vitek, Fredricson