UEFA Youth League: United v Galatasaray
Manchester United got points on the board in this season's UEFA Youth League with a 3-0 victory over Galatasaray at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday afternoon.
Second-half goals from Omari Forson (two) and Ethan Williams were decisive in a contest that the young Reds nearly made the perfect start to, straight from the kick-off. A swift move forward saw a cross from the right volleyed into the ground and just wide by Harry Amass at the back post, inside the first minute.
After a lively opening, the encounter did settle into a more steady pace, although United did continue to have the better of the scoring chances. Defender Jack Kingdon, up from the back for a corner, connected with Williams's delivery from the left but his header was collected by visiting goalkeeper Jankat Yilmaz. Just past the half-hour mark, Williams was involved again, this time curling over the crossbar after weaving his way inside from the right.
Although the scoreline remained goalless at the break, Travis Binnion's side will have been encouraged by limiting opportunities for Galatasaray, with some strong defensive work catching the eye.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Elyh Harrison was called into action in the young Reds' goal, to gather a free-kick from Hamza Akman, who was skippering the visiting side on the afternoon.
At the other end, United were stopped from taking the lead by a brilliant Yilmaz save. Forson broke beyond the defence but saw his driven one-on-one effort deflected off target by the Turkish side's goalkeeper.
Forson would get his first goal in the 66th minute though, from the penalty spot, after James Nolan was brought down in the area. The 19-year-old, who has been in fine form for our Under-21s so far in 2023/24, stepped up to send the Galatasaray no.1 the wrong way and find the bottom corner.
Substitute Shea Lacey was denied our second in quick succession when his free-kick was parried away by Yilmaz, diving to his right, but the young Reds did make it 2-0 with just over 15 minutes to play, after Williams finished off a neat team move, firing home clinically after Forson touched back a Lacey pass.
Forson rounded off the scoring four minutes from the end of normal time, placing past Yilmaz and into the net, from Lacey's astute through ball, concluding an impressive back-to-front series of play from Binnion's team. It made certain of three points that ensured United would respond in fine fashion to an opening loss at Bayern Munich, getting us up and running in Group A.
United: Harrison; Nolan, Kingdon, Kambwala, Amass (Missin 56); Fitzgerald (Curley 64), Gore (c); Forson, Scanlon (Lacey 64), Williams; Wheatley (Musa 88).
Subs not used: Myles, Jackson, McAllister.
Goals: Forson 66 (pen), 86, Williams 75.