Manchester United’s U23 squad bounced back from their dismal defeat to beat Southampton at Leigh Sports Village. Due to a ridiculous red card, Hannibal was not able to compete. The game was hotly contested throughout, but ended as 3-1 in favor of United. Anthony Elanga was able to get back on the score sheet with a beautiful goal. The story of the match though was a first half goal from new guy, Facundo Pellstri. His first goal for the Reds. Arnau Puigmal continued his impressive campaign and grabbed another goal at the end. It was an exciting match, so let’s get into the action.
The first half was very much back and forth. Elanga looked dangerous as usual down the wings. Southampton also looked threatening throughout. The absence of Hannibal was noted, he creates so many chances in that number 10 role. Puigmal was still tenacious in the midfield for United throughout the game, feeding balls to Elanga left and right. United was able to strike right at the end of the first half. In the 38th minute, Elanga fired a free kick into Southampton’s wall. The ball bounced back to him at the top of the box and he crushed it into the goal. The half ended 1-0, United.
The next half started quickly for United. In the 46th minute, Shola Shoretire was able to get away from three defenders and play a perfect ball. Pellistri quickly picked up the pass and calmly slotted it past the keeper. Every part of the goal was stunning from the brilliant pass to the silky smooth finish. It was now 2-0 United. It didn’t take long for Southampton to get back into the game. In the 52 minute, Tyreke Johnson set up Michael Obafemi in the box to make it 2-1.
After the goal, Southampton went on the front foot and started attacking United. The defense did well to keep the game at 2-1. Pellistri continued to impress as he used his speed to cut open the Southampton defense. Then at the very end of the game in the 95th minute Puigmal was able to break onto the score sheet. The game ended 3-1 United. It’s worth noting, Pellstri could easily have had a hat trick, but was unlucky on a couple of chances.
The boys looked a different team than the one that lost to West Ham. United out shot Southampton 9 to 5 on target and 14 to 11 in total. Southampton had more corners and had more possession. Man of the match would have to be Facundo Pellistri. He was electrifying throughout the game and showed brilliance with his finish on the goal. Arnau Puigmal also did well in the game and deserved to get a goal in the end. He leads the U23s with 6 goals for the season. It was a tough game, but a win is a win. The Reds now sit in 6th on the table with 14 points. The U23s will look to build on this game in their next outing, a derby match against the noisy neighbors, Manchester City, at 8:00 AM EST this Sunday, 12/13/20.