The game promised quite a show and we did get one.
Borussia Dortmund clearly came to win as they quickly made use of the counter-attacks and won a free kick from Alvaro Fernandez. Our young Spaniard would be heavily involved as he was a main target. Fernandez was also causing Dortmund a headache as he roamed freely on the left flank.
Both sides had their chances early on, but neither showed signs of domination. United caused danger with Shola Shoretire, who played Charlie McNeill through but his shot was blocked.
Dortmund caught United on the break and Jamie Jermaine Bynoe-Gittens, formerly of Manchester City, placed the ball in the bottom corner. Fernandez was the one that could have interfered but he was rightly cautious due to being the last player back. The last few minutes of the first half were dominated by Dortmund and it was kind of irritating with United’s midfield never showing actual ball flow.
Well, if Dortmund thought that everything was done and dusted, McNeill did not think so… The youngster converted from a close range. Zidane Iqbal was brilliant in the build-up play before providing an assist. In the following minutes, United finally make their presence known and Shoretire comes close to scoring United’s second. But just before that, it was Will Fish making an excellent challenge keeping the result level.
While we have been seeing a lot of Shoretire and McNeill, Garnacho and Mejbri were quiet, but later on it would be their moment to shine.
The second half started as eventful as the first one and United were knocking on Dortmund’s door.
First it was Fernandez with another brilliant run from the left flank, but his shot hardly made the goalkeeper work. As I said before, United would make use of Mejbri and Garnacho’s brilliant play as soon as they got more on the ball. So it happened, with Mejbri quite dominant and direct on the ball. Meanwhile Garnacho was getting more and more involved in United’s attacks and he managed to score but the youngster was offside.
The referee was clearly not paying much attention and the opponents were making use of this — especially with some of the tackles on Mejbri. The referee had nothing to say and no Dortmund player was booked. It was the same situation a few minutes later with the United captain, but once again the referee waved play on. Even though United were highly dominating the game, it was Dortmund who took the lead again. It seemed like a never ending pain with United having clear cut chances but not taking them.
At the end of normal time, however, it took Rhys Bennett to fire a brilliant shot from outside the area.
United had a penalty denied in the dying minutes of the second half but the referee thought it was a clean tackle. The same refere blew the whistle and that meant penalties.
McNeill, Mejbri and Emeran missed their penalties and this meant the end of this season’s campaign in the UEFA Youth League. It was a great run and it is quite unfair it had to end like this but this is football.
Manchester United U19s XI: Vitek; Jurado, Fish, Bennett, Fernandez; Iqbal, Savage; Shoretire, Mejbri (c), Garnacho; McNeill.
Substitutes: Mastny (GK), Fredricson, Oyedele, Mainoo, Hansen, Mather, Emeran.