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Anthony Elanga’s audition against Atletico Madrid shows positive signs

Not quite Jadon Sancho, but he is ready for Brighton and Hove Albion fixture

by David O'Neill
Anthony Elanga

With Jadon Sancho unavailable for Manchester United’s game against Atletico Madrid today, Anthony Elanga was handed a chance to stake a claim for a starting spot next week against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Lining up on the right wing, the young Swede struggled to get involved in the opening quarter, with United opting for quick attacks down the left flank instead.

His touch was a little sloppy on a couple of occasions in the first half, although his pace was clearly an asset in limiting build-up opportunities down his flank, as he closed down with urgency.

That same pace led to a cynical foul from Thomas Lemar as the winger tried to initiate a counterattack.

He was later hacked down by Reinildo Mandava, requiring treatment.

Reinaldo escaped a booking on that occasion, but not for long as he committed another cynical foul to earn his yellow.

Having scored a dramatic equaliser at the Wanda Metropolitano in February, Elanga seemed to attract special attention from Atletico’s defenders.

Just before the stroke of half time, Elanga managed to escape them in the penalty area for a moment, although his shot was too meek to trouble Oblak.

At the start of the first half, a clever dummy almost set up Martial for a finish, but the Frenchman was not alert to it.

Soon afterwards, he skipped past Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia in midfield, but his final ball was too heavy for Martial.

As his involvement in the game grew, so too did his rough treatment and he was eventually withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining.

The youngster did well enough in trying circumstances, and while he lacked the oozing class we have seen from Jadon Sancho on tour, should the former Dortmund maestro fail to be fit in time for Brighton’s visit to Old Trafford, Elanga’s audition will give Ten Hag confidence.

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