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Wednesday 01 May 2013

Barclays U21s: Cole goal lifts Man United into last four

Larnell Cole's winner earns Red Devils top-three finish in Elite Group; Arsenal edge win over Wolves

Tom Cleverley congratulates Man United's Larnell Cole on his winner against West Brom

Manchester United booked their place in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League semi-finals after completing a home victory against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford.

Manchester United 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

After suffering a surprise defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers Manchester United were determined to make amends in front of their supporters at "The Theatre of Dreams" and seal a top-three finish to enter the knockout stage.

That they did thanks to Larnell Cole’s eighth-minute strike for a side featuring Tom Cleverley and Alexander Buttner. The pair were involved in the build-up to the goal, which was scored from close range after a pass by Jesse Lingard.

Only West Brom goalkeeper Luke Daniels prevented the visitors from falling further behind as he made a succession of stops from Lingard, Cole and Ryan Tunicliffe, although Daniels’s opposite number Ben Amos also pulled off fine saves to deny Adil Nabi and Romain Sawyers.

Amos’s last-gasp save from Liam O’Neill ensured United ran out narrow winners to progress to the semi-finals ahead of their final group match against third-placed Liverpool at Old Trafford on 3 May.

Man United report
| West Brom report

Arsenal 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Hector Bellerin produced a late winner as Arsenal battled back from behind to snatch a narrow Elite Group victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The visitors, who took the lead early on the second half through Jack Cassidy, looked destined for an away draw under the floodlights of Underhill, after Chuba Akpom had levelled the scores on 54 minutes with his 13th goal in the competition. But just as he did against Manchester United last month, Bellerin pounced two minutes from the end to seal all three points for the Gunners.

The Spanish full-back raced on to Nico Yennaris’s pass before spearing a fierce shot into the roof of the net to condemn Wolves, who were beaten 3-2 in similar circumstances  thanks to Sanchez Watt in March, to another galling reverse.

Steve Gatting’s side are level with fifth-placed West Ham, having played a match more, but are out of the running for a place in the semi-finals. Wolves, meanwhile, lie four points adrift in seventh place.

Arsenal report | Wolves report

Barclays U21 Premier League results

Tuesday 30 April
Elite Group
Arsenal (Akpom, Bellerin) 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Kennedy)
Manchester United (Cole) 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

Monday 29 April
Elite Group
Southampton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Group 1
Aston Villa 0-0 Everton
Chelsea (Clifford) 1-0 Blackburn Rovers

Group 2
Crystal Palace 0-1 Bolton Wanderers (Youngs)
Norwich City (Heath) 1-2 Newcastle United (Bigirimana, Gosling)

Download full fixture list here  | For full results click here

To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Manchester United reach Barclays Under-21 semi-finals
  • Warren Joyce's side guaranteed top three finish in Elite Group after win over West Bromwich Albion
  • Arsenal leave it late to seal Elite Group victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers

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