Manchester United are back in Papa John’s Trophy action on Wednesday when they travel to face League One giants Sunderland in their final group stage match.
United currently occupy second place in Group F of the competition and will qualify for the knockout rounds of the tournament if they defeat the Black Cats in midweek. Neil Wood’s side narrowly lost to Lincoln City 3-2 in their opening match but eased past Bradford in a 3-0 win last time out.
It should be another incredible opportunity for the latest upcoming stars to get a taste of Football League action with former Sunderland striker Joe Hugill facing his former side.
United U21s XI vs Sunderland: Mee, Hardley, McShane, Fernandez, Savage, Wellens, Iqbal, Mather, Hoogewerf, Hugill, McNeill.
Stick with us for all the match coverage LIVE from the Stadium of Light.
United trailblazer Zidane Iqbal shines despite EFL Trophy exit
Manchester United know results are not the defining factor at youth level but that won’t be much consolation to the young side which were knocked out of the EFL Trophy on Wednesday night.
Neil Wood’s side had reached the last-32 of the competition on the previous two occasions but knew they faced a massive challenge to make it a three-peat after being drawn in a group which featured Lincoln City, Bradford and holders Sunderland this time around.
A great victory away at Bradford on match day two was book-ended by defeats against the League One sides but United will have learned a lot from the competition which sees many youngsters handed a first taste of professional football.
Yet even in a 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night it was their own trailblazer on the pitch, Zidane Iqbal, who proved to be a bright spark on a night which served as healthy reminder about how tough the eventual step-up to professional football will be for the next batch of hopefuls.
FT | 2-1KEY EVENT
Zidane Iqbal’s wonder goal is not enough as United are knocked out of the EFL Trophy.
Sunderland and Lincoln City progress.
90+4′ – 2-1Richard Fay
One last chance?
United scored from a moment of magic earlier and they need one now.
The ball is fired towards the left wing…but trickles out of play.
90+2′ – 2-1Richard Fay
90′ – 2-1Richard Fay
We are into four minutes of added time.
United need a goal otherwise they are out of the EFL Trophy.
87′ – 2-1Richard Fay
Time is running out
United are going about things the right way but their youthful side is looking tired here and face a tough test of breaking such a stubborn defence down.
81′ – 2-1Richard Fay
ON: Forson, Norkett
OFF: Hoogewerf, Hugill
80′ – 2-1Richard Fay
Wellens whips a ball into the box and Hardley goes down under pressure.
It looks like the Sunderland man won the ball though.
77′ – 2-1Richard Fay
Dyce shown a yellow for a wild challenge on Mather.
76′ – 2-1Richard Fay
United in need of more magic
Sunderland remain on top here with United restricted to chances on the counter-attack.
Mather the latest player to fire at goal with an effort which went wide.
72′ – 2-1Richard Fay
Even a draw might not do
United are behind but even if they draw level they are not guaranteed the win.
EFL Trophy rules mean that if the score is level at full-time the match will go straight to penalties, with the ‘winning side’ awarded two points and the losers just one.
GOAL! 2-1 Sunderland
Sunderland are back in front.
Nice passing play from the home side as a cross comes into the box and Wearne heads in completely unmarked. Poor defending.
59′ – 1-1Richard Fay
McNeill latches onto a through ball but wastes it poorly.
He was one-on-one from about 25-yards out but shot early rather than taking the ball on.
GOAL! 1-1 United (Iqbal)
What. A. Goal.
A short corner is played to Zidane Iqbal who drops his shoulder and curls a superb effort into the top corner.
55′ – 1-0Richard Fay
It’s taken a while but United are finally on the front foot themselves.
McNeill sees a low shot blocked.
GOAL! 1-0 Sunderland (Dyce)
Sunderland lead early on into the second-half.
Hugill gifts possession to his former side as United try to play out from the back.
Dermot Mee saves the initial shot before Dyce rifles an effort high into the net.
48′ – 0-0Richard Fay
It’s been a scrappy start to the second-half.
Neither side is managing to keep the ball for too long and there have been lots of misplaced passes.
46′ – 0-0Richard Fay
We are back under way at the Stadium of Light.
HT | 0-0KEY EVENT
We are somehow still goalless at the break.
44′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Hardley heads wide from a corner.
42′ – 0-0Richard Fay
United so close to the opener – again.
Hoogewerf sees a low shot blocked, Iqbal fires the rebound at the post and then McNeill fires his effort into the side-netting.
Three chances in about five seconds.
41′ – 0-0Richard Fay
United keep up the pressure following a corner and Fernandez bombs forward to fire at goal.
His low effort is blocked but it’s another bright attacking contribution from the former Real Madrid man.
38′ – 0-0Richard Fay
A tense few mintues
A scrappy few minutes of football here.
United are starting to move the ball a lot better but there hasn’t been much since Hugill’s great chance early on.
32′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Some really nice play from United ends as Hoogewerf’s shot is deflected over the bar.
The Dutch winger then forces another corner with a looping header which almost creeps in.
29′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Dermot Mee gives the ball away with a poor clearance but instantly redeems himself by saving the shot which follows.
25′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Sunderland on top
No clear chances in the last few minutes but Sunderland continue to dominate.
This time Harris heads over the bar following a cross from the left wing. He is the top scorer for Sunderland at youth level this season with six strikes.
20′ – 0-0Richard Fay
A lively game
Both sides have hit the post in this match and there continues to be plenty of space for both teams in attack.
Sunderland continue to dominate proceedings but United have had the better of the opportunities.
16′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Almond booked for a foul on Hugill when he looked to be through on goal.
14′ – 0-0Richard Fay
So close to a Sunderland goal there.
Richardson smashes a volley into the post following a free-kick. Mee was not getting there.
12′ – 0-0Richard Fay
Another decent opportunity for United as a cross hits McNeill in the box and tests the ‘keeper.