Manchester United suffered a shock loss to Queens Park Rangers in their second pre-season game. Jesse Lingard opened the scoring after two minutes, but then four goals (Austin, Dykes x2, Odubajo) in a row from the hosts saw them lead 4-1 going into the last 20 minutes of the game. Anthony Elanga grabbed a consolation goal in the 72nd minute.
While the main objective in pre-season is to get fit and ready for the Premier League season, winning games is always more enjoyable. There was a lack of intensity for large periods of the game, something that the younger players brought in later in the game.
Story of the game
It might’ve been a pre-season fixture, but both teams came flying out of the blocks with a good intensity, resulting in a goal for either team in the first six minutes. First came United’s goal, courtesy of Jesse Lingard, who was so impressive in his loan spell at West Ham last season.
On the second minute, Mason Greenwood drove into the centre of the pitch from the left-wing, then he played a firm pass into Facundo Pellistri, who was against the QPR backline. The Uruguayan’s cute first time pass (or a heavy first touch) found Lingard running in behind, who made no mistake one-on-one against Seny Dieng.Embed from Getty Images
However, it was just four minutes later where Mark Warburton‘s side levelled things up, with veteran striker, Charlie Austin, finding the back of the net. Some impressive link-up play on their left-wing saw Lee Wallace find space in the final third and he whipped a splendid cross into Austin, who had lost Teden Mengi. The former Southampton striker headed past Tom Heaton to finish a well-worked goal for The Hoops.
After being heavily involved in the build-up for United’s goal, Greenwood continued to threaten the QPR defence with some impressive runs and passes. He set up both Andreas Pereira and Lingard on separate occasions but the former could only watch his shot be blocked, while the latter was unable to get a shot away and the chance fizzled out.
Wallace came close to providing another opportunity for his strike force on 32 minutes, however, Brandon Williams made an important clearance from the low-cross.
Then towards the end of the half, United came close to opening up the hosts after Andreas played a beautiful pass into Greenwood who was in a forward area, he touched the ball onto Lingard, who could’ve been through one-on-one again, but Robert Dickie was on hand to make a crucial last ditch tackle on the attacking midfielder.
As the second half started, United’s number 11 was involved yet again. On the break, he played a pass in behind the backline for Anthony Elanga, fresh off the bench, to chase. It was a glorious chance, but a heavy touch from the teenager allowed Dieng to smother the ball.
Then minutes later, United had the ball in the back of the net, with Lingard finishing off a move that he started, but Elanga was flagged offside by the linesman.
QPR the took the lead after 52 minutes. Willock, who had been a danger man all game, crossed towards the backpost and then a cutback from Wallace found Lyndon Dykes. The striker fired a shot into the roof of the net, giving Lee Grant no chance.
The hosts did not stop there though, and scored a third just minutes later when Moses Odubajo cut inside from the right and scored a wonder goal with his left-foot, smashing the ball into the top right hand corner, stunning the visitors.
Just a minute later, Anthony Elanga looked to claw one back for The Reds, but after receiving a through ball, he was only able to shoot straight at the goalkeeper. Then, on the break, Dykes was on the end of a move to score his second of the game and to give QPR a stunning 4-1 lead.
With an abundance of changes from Ole Gunnar Solskjær throughout the match, United headed into the last 20 minutes of the game with a team not too dissimilar to a PL2 match apart from the likes of Juan Mata and Grant. However, they continued to play and managed to get one back on 72 minutes.
Shola Shoretire received the ball shortly after coming on the pitch and turned into the centre of the pitch in the final third. The 17-year-old fired a pass into Anthony Elanga on the edge of the box, he controlled well, then found the bottom left corner with his weaker foot – scoring the most difficult chance of the lot.Embed from Getty Images
The young lads continued to attack and Hannibal Mejbri was very sharp when he came off the bench, as well was the midfield pivot of Dylan Levitt and James Garner, After some impressive interplay straight after United’s second goal between the likes of Mata and Hannibal, Elanga had a chance to shoot from the left side of the box, but he fired his shot straight at the goalkeepers throat.
Soon after that Levitt had two half-chances within a minute and Joe Hugill came close, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Just before the final whistle Elanga played an inviting cross but Hugill’s stretch just didn’t make a connection with the ball, which went across the face of goal.
The match finished 4-2, which is a disappointing result. There was no shortage of chances for The Red Devils, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net enough, while their opposition were the opposite – clinical.
Youth were the highlight
If there was a positive to take from the game, it was the performances of some of the younger players in the match. Mason Greenwood was the highlight in the first half, but it is expected of him now, while Facundo Pellistri assisted the opener after scoring his first United goal last week. In the second half, Anthony Elanga was a threat all match and looked particularly sharp after his goal.
Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri proved why so many people rate them highly, with two solid performances from the bench. They both play ahead of their years and could potentially have a part to play in the first-team at some point this season, unless they are sent on loan.
With a game against Brentford on Wednesday, Solskjær will expect a much better performance, but hopefully some of these younger players will continue to show their talents.