Premier League | Sunday May 21, 2017 | Old Trafford | Attendance: TBC | Scorers: Harrop 15min, Pogba 19min.
New teenage debutant, Josh Harrop, scored a dream debut goal as a youthful Manchester United side gave United fans an exciting glimpse of the future during a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford.
A first-half goal from Josh Harrop (photo: below – Harrop & teammates celebrate) was doubled by Paul Pogba four minutes later as United came back to winning form at the late hour of the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho named the youngest United side in Premier League history with Joel Pereira making his first start while debuts were handed to Demi Mitchell and Harrop. The more experienced Pogba returned from compassionate leave (following the death of his father) and the likes of Angel Gomes, Matty Willock and Zak Dearnley were named on the substitutes’ bench for the first time.
Another debutant, Mitchell hit a 30-yard ball over the top that found captain Wayne Rooney but the captain’s chip over Wayne Hennessey found the roof of the net, rather than the back of it.
Just four minutes later and the Reds were two up as Jesse Lingard broke from deep and fed Pogba, who evaded the falling Joel Ward to slot the ball through Hennessey’s legs and mark his return to the United side with a fitting goal.
Pogba left the field to a standing ovation just before the break, replaced by Michael Carrick, as Mourinho looked to save the Frenchman’s legs for the final on Wednesday.
Possession: United 58% Palace 42%
Shots at goal: United 7 Palace 2
Shots on target: United 2 Palace 0
Corners: United 3 Palace 2
The second half was slow to get going but the first real chance fell to Christian Benteke, who headed against the post from former United winger Wilfried Zaha’s pinpoint cross.
Palace were looking to make the last 15 minutes as Bakary Sako free-kick hit Carrick and nearly found the goal, before Pereira made his first save of the game, clutching Luka Milivojevic’s 25-yard free-kick to bring an appreciative roar from the Old Trafford crowd.
INTRODUCING ANGEL GOMES . . .
Boss Jose Mourinho kept to his words before the encounter with Palace – to field an almost youngster-filled team to close United’s Premier League season at Old Trafford. United’s young prodigy Angel Gomes made an appearance as the 16-year-old came off the bench for his first taste of Premier League football inside the final five minutes, in place of captain Wayne Rooney. (Photo above: Gomes right replaces Rooney left).
Possession: United 59% Palace 41%
Shots at goal: United 9 Palace 6
Shots on target: United 2 Palace 1
Corners: United 3 Palace 5
Manchester United: Pereira, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Jones, Mitchell, McTominay, Tuanzebe, Pogba (Carrick 45), Lingard (Martial 45+2), Rooney (Gomes 88), Harrop.
Subs not used: O’Hara, Blind, Willock, Dearnley.
Booked: McTominay, Carrick.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Tomkins, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Puncheon, McArthur (Sako 60), Zaha (Campbell 79), van Aanholt (Kaikai 67), Benteke.
Subs not used: Speroni, Dann, Wan-Bissaka, Lee.
BOSS IN A HURRY
This is what Jose Mourinho told MUTV after the game (!): “Don’t ask me too many things because now I am in the final. Let me go home, I am in the final now.”
With this very late victory at the end of the Premier League at the Theater of Dreams, Manchester United is dreamily headed into Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden – in winning form . . .
Up Man U!