Hannibal Mejbri runs past a Leeds United defender.

United make it to last eight of Youth Cup

Manchester United’s Under-18s progressed to the sixth round of the FA Youth Cup after defeating Leeds United 1-0 at Old Trafford.

It’s never easy, at any level, to face the Whites from Elland Road and this was no different with just one Dillon Hoogewerf goal proving decisive in a fiercely competitive contest which saw referee John Matthews hand out six yellow cards and one red, to Leeds’ Henri Kumwenda.

United will now meet Wigan Athletic at home in the last eight, after the Latics ran out 4-0 winners over Birmingham City.

There have been several FA Youth Cup meetings between the clubs over the years, with the 1993 two-legged final proving the most memorable.

United were the cup holders having beaten Crystal Palace the previous year with the famed ‘Class of ’92’, but that meant little to Leeds, who won both games to lift the trophy.

The Reds reached this stage of the competition with 2-0 wins over Lincoln City and Norwich City, while Leeds overcame Yorkshire rivals Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday, the latter on penalties.

As predicted, there was a sizeable contingent of Leeds supporters in the visitors’ section and they made it abundantly clear that they were going to enjoy themselves on their first visit to Old Trafford in a decade.

There was a distinct chill in the air as the game got underway but the ground soon began to warm up as the ages-old rivalry between the two clubs resurfaced and the visitors started to threaten.

Kumwenda headed the first real chance of the game narrowly wide, before Jack Jenkins was denied by Ondrej Mastny and Stuart McKinstry spurned the chance to follow up.

United, by comparison, had been quiet in front of goal but that all changed shortly after the half-hour mark when Mark Helm hit a sizzler that grazed the visitors’ crossbar.

Three minutes further on and a goal for United appeared inevitable when Hannibal Mejbri was one-on-one with Leeds’ ‘keeper Cooper Skerry, but in a re-run of the earlier incident it was the attacker who came out second best, with the Australian stretching out a toe to divert our no.10's effort wide.

FA Youth Cup highlights: United 1 Leeds 0Video

Hoogewerf was presented with the first genuine opening of the second half when he raced in from the right wing but his shot lacked accuracy.

The Dutch forward made no mistake the next time he sniffed a chance, though. On the hour mark, he found space in the area to squeeze a superb header from Reece Devine’s cross beyond Skerry and into the bottom left-hand corner.

And just four minutes later, the visitors’ plight worsened when Matthews showed Kumwenda a second yellow card following a clumsy challenge on Shola Shoretire.

Henri Kumwenda sees red.
Leeds' Henri Kumwenda is sent off.

The complexion of the tie had changed to some degree but Leeds still posed a threat and Reds’ skipper Teden Mengi and his fellow defenders had to remain on their guard as full time loomed.

The menacing Shoretire and Hoogewerf both came off with injuries, while Lukasz Bejger was forced to spend the closing stages of the game hobbling around up front, with all three substitutes used up.

In the end, United saw out a bruising encounter by keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in the competition, to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012.

United: Mastny; Bejger, Mengi (c), Hockenhull, Devine; McCann, Helm; Wellens (Stanley 80), Mejbri, Shoretire (Sotona 70); Hoogewerf (Forson 76).

Subs not used: Mee, Hardley, Neville, Svidersky.

Scorer: Hoogewerf 60

Attendance: 4,263

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