Manchester United’s u18s hosted Leicester City at Old Trafford last night in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
With Ralf Rangnick and friend Paul Mitchell in attendance, the pressure was on for the youngsters to impress.
The match got off to a tentative start with the opening attacks fizzling out in the final third for both sides.
Leicester’s Zach Booth drove into the box in the 11th minute but good defending from United saw his effort deflected wide.
Leicester seemed to be getting the better of the early stages but against the run of play, Alejandro Garnacho raced down the left in behind the Leicester defenders and centred. But a last ditch clearance cut it out.
Booth was causing trouble again in the 26th minute after Marc Jurado was dispossessed in a dangerous area, the American was teed up at the edge of the box but soared his shot over the bar.
Leicester did eventually take the lead in the 28th minute through former United academy player Chris Popov.
Leicester’s high press stole the ball from Sam Murray and Popov was found in the box to turn and shoot. Radek Vitek was left disappointed as he got his hand to it but the ball bounced off the ground and then his head before ricocheting into the goal.
The 31st minute saw the first really decisive play from United with some skilful interplay between Sam Mather, Charlie McNeill and Dan Gore. The play ended with Mather attempting a curling effort from 18 yards but it went just inches wide.
Lost possession caused United trouble throughout the first half and in the 36th minute Will Alves stole the ball from Rhys Bennett and struck low but Vitek saved with his feet.
A skilful dribble from Gore through the middle earned United a free-kick from 22 yards in the 40th minute.
Garnacho stepped up and hit it low and hard to the keeper’s side and struck the back of the net to equalise.
The second half began in a more open fashion with the chances flowing.
Garnacho’s pace continued to create openings as he raced in behind down the right and fizzed a ball across the box but could not find a teammate.
The Leicester keeper, Arlo Doherty, made two big saves in the 52nd to deny McNeill and Garnacho. Leicester then countered up the other end and it was Vitek’s turn to make a marvellous save, which was only matched by the following goal line clearance from Bennett.
McNeill had a few chances, first being played in by Kobbie Mainoo, but the usual prolific striker lashed his effort into the side netting.
Shortly after, Garnacho’s cross into the area was shielded down by the Leicester defender but McNeill was able to sneak in and dispossess him. The out rushing keeper was able to pounce quickly though and jump on McNeill’s dinked attempt.
With regular time coming to a close United was all over Leicester, desperate to finish the match before extra time.
McNeill almost did it with a driving run and effort from 20 yards out but he dragged his shot to the left and wide.
But it was two minutes later when Garnacho would succeed in taking the lead. A beautifully clipped ball to the left by Mainoo found the Spaniard, who took it down onto his left to smash past the keeper to seal the late winner.
The man of the match, Garnacho, was subsequently subbed off to be treated to a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful.
Moving on to the semi-finals, United will host the winners of Wolves and Brighton.
United: Vitek, Jurado, Bennett, Fredricson, Murray, Gore, Mainoo, Mather (Norkett 81), Hansen-Aaroen (Oyedele 65), Garnacho (Aljofree 90), McNeill
Unused subs: Wooster, Lawrence, Sharpe, Ennis