Match Report: Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United

Originally published for on 8/8/2017.

Manchester United were unable to kick off the competitive season with a trophy, suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

On a humid night in Skopje, a second-half strike from Romelu Lukaku proved only to be a consolation for United, as goals from Casemiro and Isco were enough to seal a 2-1 victory for the European champions.

Real Madrid enjoyed the majority of possession and chances in the first half, with Welsh forward Gareth Bale firing wide from close range and Casemiro rattling the crossbar with a header early on.

The Champions League holders took the lead after 24 minutes when Casemiro found the net, latching onto a Dani Carvajal through ball. Despite looking marginally offside, the flag stayed down and the Brazilian was able to finish past David De Gea.

Real continued to press, with both Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos forcing good saves from De Gea either side of the half-time break, before Isco doubled the lead for Zinedine Zidane’s side, coolly finishing off a well-worked one-two with Bale.

Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic were all making their official debuts for United, and the Reds went close to pulling one back when Paul Pogba’s header was parried by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas, but Lukaku was unable to convert the rebound from close range.

Bale almost made it 3-0 when his effort thundered against De Gea’s crossbar, but it was game on less than a minute later when Lukaku pulled one back for United. A low effort from Matic was parried by Navas, with the Belgian striker showing a killer instinct to pounce on the loose ball and halve the deficit.

United continued to push for an equaliser, with substitute Marcus Rashford looking lively. The England international came close to sending the tie into extra-time when he went through one-on-one against Navas, only to have his effort tipped around the post by the Real keeper.

Fellow substitute Marouane Fellaini also nearly found a way through late on with a header, but was again denied by the impressive Navas as Real Madrid held on to claim victory in the first ever Super Cup meeting between the two sides.


United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Darmian; Matic, Herrera (Fellaini 56), Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lingard (Rashford 46); Lukaku. Substitutes not used: Romero, Blind, Carrick, Mata, Martial.

Booked: Lingard, Rashford.

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco (Lucas Vazquez 74), Benzema (Ronaldo 82), Bale (Asensio 74). Substitutes not used: Casilla, Nacho, Theo, Kovacic.

Booked: Carvajal, Ramos.


Although the result in Skopje was disappointing, Jose Mourinho will be happy that all three of his new signings got 90 minutes under their belts in tough conditions. After missing a good chance earlier in the game, Lukaku will take confidence from a well-taken goal on his competitive debut, while Lindelof and Matic – making only his second appearance since May – will be one step closer to full fitness ahead of this weekend’s Premier League kick-off.


United emerged from the showpiece event with no fresh injury concerns, with plenty of players looking like they’re ready to hit the ground running for the new season. David De Gea was in fine form once again, making a string of top-drawer saves to prevent Real from further extending their lead, while Marcus Rashford proved to be a real handful for the Madrid defence when he came off the bench. The Reds showed tremendous determination to get back into the game from being 2-0 down, creating good chances and fighting valiantly against the Champions League holders, which will give Jose – who praised the team for their spirit after the match – plenty of encouragement for the season ahead.


Our attention now turns to the return of the domestic season, with United starting the campaign with a home game against West Ham United on Sunday 13 August. We’ll be welcoming a familiar face back to Old Trafford, with former Reds striker Javier Hernandez set to make his debut for the Hammers.



Chelsea break United hearts in U21 Premier League Final

Originally published for Quays News on 14/5/2014

CHELSEA’S youngsters came from behind to win 2-1 against Manchester United and claim the Barclays Under 21 Premier League title, spoiling the Reds’ party in front of over 13,000 spectators at Old Trafford.

A first-half strike from Tom Lawrence put United in front, but a goal in each half from Charly Musonda and Lewis Baker sealed victory for the Blues, ending the home sides’ hopes of retaining their U21 Premier League crown.

Both sides fielded players with first team experience in a thrilling game which sees Chelsea complete the double after their FA Youth Cup triumph over Fulham.

After a combative opening ten minutes, which saw referee Paul Tierney produce three yellow cards, it was United who dealt the first blow early on.

Saidy Janko’s cross allowed James Wilson to tee up Lawrence, who showed great composure to work room for a shot and coolly finish past Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackman.

United’s lead was shortlived when Musonda beat three men and fired past Ben Amos to score a magnificent solo effort just ten minutes later.

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United’s U21s hammer Aston Villa

Originally published for Pride of All Europe on 8/4/2014. Below is the original unsubbed copy. Please see link for subbed version.

Jonny Evans returned to action as Manchester United’s under 21 side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

The centre back, who has been out of action for over two months with a calf injury, played for over an hour as the young Reds side recorded their first win in four games to keep their end of season play-off hopes alive.

First half goals from James Wilson and Joe Rothwell put the hosts in front, before Saidy Janko sealed the three points early in the second half.

United enjoyed most of the possession in the first half, and were nearly ahead after just three minutes when a mistake from Villa keeper Bradley Watkins gave Janko a chance to score, but the angle was too tight for the Swiss youngster to capitalise.

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The curious case of Guillermo Varela

Originally published for Backpage Football on 15/02/2014

Much was made of Manchester United’s summer transfer window debacle, and although it was the £28million deadline day capture of Marouane Fellaini that made the headlines, the club’s first signing of the David Moyes era was that of Guillermo Varela, a largely unknown Uruguayan right-back.

After impressing the club on a two-week trial, Varela was snapped up on a permanent deal in June from Club Atlético Peñarol, for a reported fee of just under £3million. With the dream of following in the footsteps of- and eventually displacing- fellow South American full-back Rafael da Silva, the 20-year-old arrived at Old Trafford and was handed the number 30 shirt. By securing a first team squad number, many expected him to feature on the fringes of Moyes’ side during this campaign.

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Pereira Stunner Sinks West Ham at Old Trafford

Originally published for Pride of All Europe on 11/02/2014

Manchester United’s stars of tomorrow were given the opportunity to experience playing under the floodlights of Old Trafford and rose to the occasion,  securing a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in the Barclays U21 Premier League.

First half goals from captain Michael Keane and Andreas Pereira were enough to seal the victory for Reds on a bitterly cold February night in the north west.

The hosts dominated proceedings early on as first team boss David Moyes’ first United signing, Uruguayan full-back Guillermo Varela, tested West Ham keeper Raphael Spiegel at his near post. With two United corners in the opening 8 minutes, West Ham were camped firmly in their own half, unable to gain a hold of the game.

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Nani- Manchester United’s scapegoat?

Originally published for Backpage Football on 28/10/2013

As the referee’s whistle called time on Manchester United’s narrow victory against Stoke City, it wasn’t so much of a cheer that reverberated around Old Trafford but a monumental sigh of relief.

With three points in the bag, a Fergie-esque late comeback and the pressure on David Moyes – at least for now- lifted, it was all smiles for the Reds as they headed away from The Theatre of Dreams with a home league win for only the second time this season.

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