Match report: Sheffield Utd 1 Man Utd 2

Saturday 21 October 2023 22:15

Manchester United made it back-to-back Premier League wins on Saturday evening, with a hard-fought victory at Sheffield United on the day the club said goodnight to the one and only Sir Bobby Charlton.

Tributes were paid to one of the club's greatest sons ahead of kick-off and black armbands worn throughout, following the earlier news of his sad passing at the age of 86.

Fittingly, Academy graduate Scott McTominay opened the scoring in the first half, but the home team quickly responded via a penalty from Oli McBurnie.

Despite long periods of United possession thereafter, plus several good goalscoring opportunities, the scoreline remained level until just 13 minutes from time, when Diogo Dalot rifled home a glorious winner from beyond the penalty area.
Highlights: Sheffield United v United Video

Highlights: Sheffield United v United

Highlights | Watch the key moments from our meeting with the Blades on a poignant night at Bramall Lane...

A melancholy mood undoubtedly dogged all of a United persuasion in the moments leading up to kick-off, but it rapidly became clear that a bruising Bramall Lane crowd was in no mood for sentimentality.
The hosts made the brighter, more energetic start, and could have led as early as the third minute, when McBurnie found himself free in the United area and forced an important low save from Andre Onana.
Things calmed down after the hosts' initial enthusiasm was somewhat tamed by the Reds, but our Cameroonian no.1 was again required midway through the half when Cameron Archer's fizzing drive from distance looked set for the bottom corner.
Dalot dedicates win to Sir Bobby Video

Dalot dedicates win to Sir Bobby

Diogo Dalot hopes United's win can give some joy to Sir Bobby Charlton's family, on the sad day of his passing...

A wayward volley from Antony had been United's only real effort of note in the opening 25 minutes but, against the run of play, we went ahead just before the half-hour mark, when McTominay chested down Fernandes's pass and volleyed home from around 10 yards out.

But the lead didn't last long: McTominay was perhaps harshly adjudged to have handballed a low cross six minutes later, and McBurnie made no mistake from the spot to rightfully restore the Yorkshire club to parity.
But if the Blades deserved to be level at that point, it was United who grew in authority towards the end of the first 45. First, Hojlund was inches away from latching on to the end of an astute Rashford ball across the six-yard box, and then Fernandes scorched the bar with a near-perfect free-kick. Hojlund then drew a great close-range save from opposition goalkeeper Wes Foderingham after Rashford's deflected shot fell at his feet.
Fans laud 'exceptional' Sir Bobby Video

Fans laud 'exceptional' Sir Bobby

We caught up with some fans in tonight's away end to find out what Sir Bobby meant to the United family...

United needed to run with that momentum when the sides returned for the second period. But again it was the hosts who were quickest out of the starting gate, though their opening burst was a bit more short-lived this time.

Brewster's stinging, dipping shot from range was the only serious threat to the United goal but Onana did well to readjust to its unusual movement in the air – the latest in a number of good interventions from our man between the sticks.

United then began to turn the screw, albeit slowly. After Foderingham gave a simple pass out of the Blades' box straight to Rashford, Hojlund was disappointed not to find one of the corners, and then Amrabat crashed a thunderbolt against the bar. 
Bramall Lane applauds Sir Bobby Video

Bramall Lane applauds Sir Bobby

Players, officials and supporters at Bramall Lane were united in this pre-match tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton...

The control and the pressure were there, but could a goal be found? 
Just as the game seemed to be drifting to a frustrating impasse, with chances difficult to eke out and Sheffield United keen to sink back into their box, Dalot found space on the edge of the area and unfurled a magisterial shot into the top right-hand corner, sending the away end behind the goal wild.
Further chances followed – which might have made the final minutes a little more relaxing – largely falling to the hard-running Garnacho, but United had to work hard to get over the line, with Maguire particularly resolute in the back line.

The game's wonderful, decisive curler was more Beckham-esque than Charlton-esque, but on a day where the latter dominated the thoughts of so many across the football community, Dalot's long-distance screamer (and another goal from an Academy graduate) would have thrilled the great man. He would have loved the scoreline even more.
Dalot's winner sparked euphoric scenes among the players and our travelling supporters.
Sheffield United XI: Foderingham, Bogle, Trusty, Robinson, Thomas, Hamer (Traore 84), Souza, Norwood (c), McAtee (Osborn 78), McBurnie (Brewster 52), Archer.
Unused substitutes: Amissah, Fleck, Slimane, One, Seriki, Buyabu.
Goals: McBurnie pen 34.
Bookings: Thomas, Trusty, Souza.
United XI: Onana; Dalot, Maguire, Evans (Varane 84), Lindelof; McTominay (Eriksen 63), Amrabat; Antony (Garnacho 64), Fernandes (c), Rashford (Mount 88); Hojlund (Martial 63). 
Subs not used: Bayindir, Hannibal, van de Beek, Pellistri.
Goals: McTominay 28, Dalot 77.

Bookings: Evans.