and 24 minutes in, a short corner on the left saw the ball again moved to Pearson who shot well wide of the target. Moments later, United should have again taken the lead. Nice combination play by Charni Ekangamene, van Velzen, and Daehli saw the wide man put in a beautiful cross which found Reece James coming on to it, but his powerful header went straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Reysol won a corner in the 30th minute which bounced about the United six-yard box before James hacked it clear as the Reysol attackers closed in. Failure to take their early chances saw United pay dearly as in the 32nd minute Reysol scored the opening goal of the game. A goal kick from Pierluigi Gollini saw the ball travel no more than 40 yards, and as it hung in the wind, the Reysol centre-back jumped to clear and found his winger wide on the right. Pushing the ball back to his full-back, he spun around Luke Hendrie and was able to take the return ball in his stride. As he strode into the box he hit a stinging shot at goal which Gollini did well to parry, only for the ball to fall to striker Noki who, as United’s defenders tried to cover on the line, was able to fire into the net.
As United tried to find their rhythm after the goal they were again exposed when the right wingman got free along the right. He cut in, and let fly but Gollini made a wonderful flying save tipping the ball over for a corner-kick. United pushed forward in an effort to find an equaliser, and on 43 minutes a nice through ball from Pearson found Wilson but the striker’s effort was weak and failed to trouble the Japanese keeper. Just a minute later however, United were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty. Pearson got into the box and as he rounded his marker, he was blatantly pushed off the ball. The referee saw differently and to the amazement of the watching crowd and of the United players, he waved play on. Just seconds before half-time, James