Home ยป Match Report: Manchester United 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

Match Report: Manchester United 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

by Mathew Cohen

Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in their last pre-season friendly before the 2023/24 season.

Just a minute into the game, United showed their intention as Facundo Pellistri burst forward on the counter attack.

The youngster pushed the ball off to Jason Sancho on the right, whose pass back to the centre was cut out.

Moments later, United broke on the counter attack again, with Jadon Sancho going one-on-one with goalkeeper Unai Simon, who made a last ditch save with his leg.

United continued to apply pressure, with the back four maintaining a high line as the Red Devils’ attack forced a corner which ended with a Harry Maguire header from a few yards out from goal being collected by Simon from a few yards out.

Sancho continued showing good awareness, putting the ball through a Bilbao defender’s legs before putting a through ball through to Forson, which ultimately went out for a goal kick.

On the 25th minute mark, Alvaro Fernandez, who appeared to have a bright start to the game, tripped up Nico Williams to hand Bilbao a free kick on the edge of the box.

Ultimately, Tom Heaton kept his composure, saving Inigo Lekue’s shot on goal.

On the 30 minute mark, an error from Maguire resulted in an interception from the Bilbao attack, with Nico Williams sprinting into the box to grab an unlikely opener for the Spanish club against the run of play.

While United continued pushing forward, they lacked the fire that they displayed earlier in the game, going into the break a goal down.

As the second half got underway, United made just one change, with Hannibal Mejbri coming on for a subdued Donny van de Beek.

Pellistri intercepted a loose ball three minutes into the second half, bursting forward before putting his cross to Sancho out of play.

A few minutes later, Sancho lifted a dangerous cross into the box, with Pellistri heading the ball wide.

In the 63rd minute, Sancho and Fernandez made way for 19 year old Joe Hugill and veteran Jonny Evans.

Moments later, a lively Hannibal dispossessed center back Aitor Paredes, who then intentionally brought down the 20 year old and received a red card in the process.

Christian Eriksen came close to scoring with the subsequent free kick as his shot narrowly fizzed over the crossbar.

With 18 minutes left on the clock, Aaron Wan-Bissaka launched a threatening cross into the center of the box, however, Hannibal ballooned the ball over the top.

In the 81st minute, Daniel Gore’s match came to an end as he was replaced by Noam Emeran, who scored in United’s first pre season match against Leeds United.

United looked dangerous in the 85th minute, with Hannibal hammering the ball into the far end of the box to Maguire, whose pass into the centre went out of play after none of his teammates were able to make contact.

Following a corner, a threatening cross from Eriksen found Evans, whose header was deflected another corner.

With the game seemingly heading for a frustrating loss, a Maguire header found Pellistri, who scored from the right hand side to level the scoreline.

Still, Erik ten Hag will no doubt have questions for his team as their dominance on the field only resulted in a draw.

1st half team: Heaton, Lindelof, Maguire, Eriksen, Sancho, Pellistri, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek, Fernandez, Gore, Forson

2nd half subs: Hannibal, Evans, Emeran, Hugill

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