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U21 Report: Blackburn Rovers 0-5 Manchester United – Lancashire Senior Cup

Manchester United’s reserve team booked their place in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi final following a 5-0 quarter-final win against Blackburn Rovers tonight. There were plenty of familiar faces on show at Leigh Sports Village as United continued to use the second string games to give first team players vital minutes in order to get match fit following injuries or lack of game time. Tonight’s starting line up included first teamer’s Anders Lindegaard, Jonny Evans, Ander Herrera and Adnan Januzaj alongside some exciting youngsters such as Andreas Pereira. The strength of United’s line up was shown by the fact that only Ben Pearson and Josh Harrop haven’t appeared in the first team.

United started very brightly and could have been ahead in the first minute as Marnick Vermijl’s pass found Will Keane in the box but his powerful strike from a narrow angle was pushed wide by the Blackburn keeper. It was Blackburn however who had the best effort of the opening 10 minutes as a ball over the top was not dealt with by Tom Thorpe or Evans and when the Blackburn striker volleyed it towards the top corner Lindegaard did well to push it wide for a corner. This seemed to wake United up and within a few minutes they were ahead as Januzaj picked the ball up on the half way line and played a reverse pass in the stride of the marauding Janko who’s cross from the right hand side of the box was poked home by Keane at the near post to put United 1-0 up in the 15th minute.

Januzaj was at the heart of everything good for United and it was no surprise to see him getting an assist for the second goal as he played a low free kick into Herrera’s in the box who finished emphatically to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute. United’s next chance came in the 36th minute and predictably it came through Januzaj again who drove in from the wing and struck a powerful low shot from the edge of the box which the keeper did well to push wide. United made it 3-0 in the 42nd minute as Pereira picked the ball up just inside Blackburn’s half and strode forward before hitting a swerving shot from the edge of the box which the keeper got a touch on but couldn’t keep out to give United a 3-0 lead going into half time.

United started the 2nd half the same way as they had started the first as Herrera came close to scoring twice in the opening 2 minutes, first dragging a shot wide and then having a shot deflected wide. United didn’t have to wait long for the fourth goal as in the 49th minute Joe Rothwell smashed the ball high into the roof of the net from six yards out after Keane’s shot had been blocked. Following the goal United took their foot off the pedal and played a lot of possession football without really creating anything for the next 20 minutes with Pearson,Herrera and Pereira controlling the tempo of the game. The fifth goal came in the 79th minute after an incredible passing move as Rothwell drove forward from the midfield and played quick one-two’s with both Pereira and Pearson before finishing brilliantly into the top corner from the edge of the box.

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United’s search for a sixth goal came at a heavy cost as centre back Thorpe marauded forward and went down on the edge of the Blackburn box with what looked like a fairly serious ankle injury as he was taken down the tunnel on a stretcher. The last few minutes was like a training session for United as they just kept hold of the ball to see out the game with 10 men. United will now face Wigan Athletic in the semi final.

Manchester United: Lindegaard, Janko (Grimshaw 68′), Thorpe, Evans (Love 64′), Vermijl, Pearson, Herrera, Harrop (Rothwell 29′), A.Pereira, W Keane, Januzaj Substitutes Not Used: J.Pereira, Weir

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