Manchester United U23 4-0 Sunderland U23
Sunderland under-23s missed the chance to move out of the Premier League 2 relegation zone this evening as they fell to defeat at Manchester United.
After a tense opening to proceedings, United built an assured lead at the midway interval after Tahith Chong and Zak Dearnley struck.
The hosts then romped through the gears in the second 45 and swiftly put the game beyond doubt as Indy Boonen and Joe Riley added to the scoreline before the hour mark.
Bali Mumba was handed his first start for Sunderland under-23s. Despite only being 16 and yet to start his scholarship, the versatile youngster has impressed throughout the campaign for the youth team and has deservedly earned his chance with Elliott Dickman’s side.
A POINT OFF
The Theatre of Dreams. Sunderland arrived at Old Trafford dreaming of three points against the league’s basement club - knowing it would provide them with a major advantage going into the final two games of the season. United, on the other hand, approached the match five adrift of safety.
NIP AND TUCK
Mumba made an assured start in the middle of the park alongside Elliot Embleton as both sides looked to take the match to each other. United were bright but Sunderland withstood the brunt of their onslaught at the tenacious Lee Connelly and Connor Shields defended from the front.
But the hosts began to turn the screw at the midway point of the opening period, with Dearnley and Devonte Redmond going close before Chong fired home on 24 minutes. The former Feyenoord youngster got the better of Owen Gamble and Brandon Taylor before lashing his effort beyond the helpless Max Stryjek. Dearnley doubled the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of half-time, calmly slotting home from close range as Chong turned provider.
OUT THE TRAPS
Within the blink of an eye Sunderland saw the game put out of their reach in the second 45. Luke Molyneux made way at the break with Benji Kimpioka introduced in his place, but it did little to prevent United putting the game beyond doubt as Boonen got the better of Taylor as he dragged his right-footed effort into Stryjek’s near post on 55 minutes before Riley added a fourth five minutes later. The right full-back smothered Stryjek’s block as the stopper rushed off his line, steadied himself and then bent a fine effort into the far corner and over the Polish stopper.
TWO TO GO
It was tough on Sunderland who could’ve relegated United this evening had they defeated them. However, with just two matches to go the Black Cats face Leicester City at the Stadium of Light next weekend before rounding off their league campaign at the Liberty Stadium at the end of the month. The Black Cats remain a point adrift of safety while United have hauled themselves back into contention as they are now just one behind the lads.
Manchester United U23: O'Hara; Riley (c), R. Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, O'Connor; Redmond, Hamilton; Chong, Gribbin, Boonen (Buffonge), Dearnley.
Subs: Richardson, Warren, Kehinde, Whelan.
Sunderland U23: Stryjek, Hume, Gamble, Storey, Taylor, Embleton, Mumba, Molyneux (Kimpioka), Shields, Connelly (Wright), Diamond
Subs: Hickey, Talbot, Bale