Tuesday 22 August 2017

Pereira announces arrival with fine strike as United cruise through

Manchester United 3 Ipswich Town 0

Manchester United's Andreas Pereira in action
Manchester United's Andreas Pereira in action

Tim Rich

For the second time in successive home games, a young Manchester United footballer wheeled away in delight having marked his debut in a way he would have dreamed of.

Against Liverpool it had been Anthony Martial and now it was another 19-year-old, Andreas Pereira, who ran towards the stands having scored on his first start in a red shirt.

There were differences, of course. Martial's goal had come against United's most venomous enemy as a substitute, while Pereira's free-kick had been scored against an Ipswich second XI.

As a product of United's academy - born in Belgium to a Brazilian father - Pereira (right) had cost the club rather less than the £36m they paid for Martial, who finished off a routine evening with his fourth goal in as many games.

Just as there is a hint of Thierry Henry in the way Martial ran at goal after being put through by Memphis Depay, there are a few ghostly echoes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the way Pereira addresses a dead ball. He was denied a second goal by Bartosz Bialkowski's legs.

The teenager, playing in the No 44 shirt Adnan Januzaj had worn in his impressive first season under David Moyes, was, however, the only risk Louis van Gaal took against distinctly unthreatening opposition.

Last year, he had taken an experimental side to Milton Keynes in the League Cup and been thrashed 4-0. There are barely any survivors from that team and, in pursuit of a first trophy, the United manager was not prepared to gamble against very weakened opposition.

What Mick McCarthy handed in before kick-off was not so much a teamsheet as a surrender document.

The Ipswich manager named an entirely different team from the one that had drawn with Birmingham last Friday.

The thousands who had made the long journey from East Anglia to Old Trafford would be rewarded with a reserve team.

The reserves, in the event, played pretty well and held out until the 23rd minute when Wayne Rooney took down a long, hard ball from Daley Blind and sent his marker Piotr Malarczyk to the floor.

The United captain appeared to have taken one touch too many but he was still able to drive his shot home for his first goal in the League Cup since he scored against Aston Villa in the 2010 final.

United must hope there are more to come. (© Independent News Service)

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