Following their midweek draw in the Premier League International Cup, United’s u21s were back in league action away to Tottenham Hotspur at Lamex Stadium.
There was a surprise face in the United side in Zidane Iqbal who has spent the majority of the season with the senior side thus far and it was clear to see what has caught Erik ten Hag’s eye from the opening minute.
Some clever footwork from Iqbal held off the defender in the box before being taken down to win United a penalty in just the second minute. Noam Emeran stepped up and sent it over bar and into the stands, a big chance missed to take an early command.
Spurs had a penalty shout of their own shortly after but there was nothing in it and it was quickly waved off by the ref.
In the 11th minute Bjorn Hardley got himself in trouble as he lost possession and had to pull back the Spurs player to stop the counter, picking up a yellow card in the process.
A few minutes later, Spurs’ Alfie Divine ran free towards the United goal but Radek Vitek stood up to save the shot.
United won possession high up the pitch in the 22nd minute and Shola Shoretire took on his man to the outside and fired low from a tight angle, hitting the back post before it was cleared out for a corner.
Just a minute later, the ball was played wide to Shoretire who audaciously flicked on to Hardley and ran into the box for the pull back but was pushed over as he shot, causing it to be scuffed wide.
In the 26th minute, a bizarre substitution saw Iqbal coming off early for Omari Forson. The young midfielder’s protestations at his departure made it seem unlikely it was due to injury or had been pre-planned to his knowledge.
Forson immediately tried a long range curler upon his entry but there wasn’t enough power to cause the keeper trouble.
In the 32nd minute, Teden Mengi was left exposed 2v1 but he used his pace and strength to hold off Yago Alonso from latching onto the pass into the box but as a result collided with Vitek heavily. Fortunately, both were soon back on their feet and fine to continue.
Shoretire almost snuck a goal as he got a foot in to block the keeper’s clearance but Spurs were lucky and it ricocheted out to a Spurs defender.
In the 40th, Spurs chipped through to Alonso over Bennett’s leg and the Spanish striker dispatched into the bottom right corner.
Unlucky to go into the break trailing 1-0, United were the better side in the first half albeit were disjointed in their play with an unusual 5-3-2 formation that left many unsure of where to be but a switch at half time saw them return to a more familiar four at the back as play resumed.
Early in the second half, a Spurs wide free kick was sent to the back post and side footed back across to be volleyed off the cross bar before Mengi could clear from danger.
Spurs continued to threaten and worked it down the right past Hardley and unleashed a close range shot but Vitek was down quickly to save.
Omari Forson broke from the right and switched to Shoretire who passed to the byline for the overlapping Charlie Savage whose wide angle shot was saved by the keeper’s feet.
In the 69th minute, Shoretire’s wide free kick found Bennett at the back post rising to head, but a deflection took the sting out of it, allowing for an easy catch from the keeper.
Savage crossed to Marc Jurado at back post to run past the defender to the byline with a great first touch before cutting back to Emeran for a huge chance 10 yards out but he sidefooted wide left.
It would finally all fall into place for United deep into injury time. Jurado’s cross was blocked but it came back to him on his left and he outrageously curled it into the far top left corner with the keeper nowhere close to reaching it, saving a point from the match after Spurs had tried to waste time from the 60th minute.
The final whistle came seconds later, to give United their seventh draw in eleven matches so far this campaign as they languish in 11th place.
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