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Saturday 03 May 2014

BU21PL: Pereira strike sends champions into final

Curling effort from range edges Man Utd past Liverpool to face Chelsea in the final

BU21PL semi-final: Liverpool v Man Utd photo gallery

A superb strike by Andreas Pereira kept Manchester United on course to retain their Barclays Under-21 Premier League trophy with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the semi-final at Anfield.

The only goal, which came a minute before the interval, means United will face Chelsea in the final after the Blues beat Manchester City in a penalty shootout on Thursday evening.

United, with former players Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes in the stands, started the stronger at Anfield and James Wilson, their leading scorer in the competition with seven goals, almost put them ahead inside the opening five minutes. Brad Smith gave possession to the United striker, but Wilson’s shot came back off a post.

After Joe Rothwell shot over the home side, under the gaze of first-team manager Brendan Rodgers, started to get into the match with shots from Jordan Lussey and Kristoffer Peterson.

Liverpool went into the break behind after Pereira cut in from the left and sent a dipping shot that beat Ryan Fulton in goal in front of the Kop End.

After the break, it was mainly Liverpool on the front foot with United goalkeeper Amos saving from Peterson and Rafael Paez. United still threatened with Lawrence bending a shot wide and Fulton making a double save from Ben Pearson. Peterson had a chance to equalise with a header from a free-kick with eight minutes remaining but could not direct the ball towards goal. Then Liverpool substitute spurned a better chance to send the tie to extra-time, missing the goal when Amos’s save fell to him from close range.

Liverpool: 1 Ryan Fulton, 2 Ryan McLaughlin, 3 Brad Smith, 4 Rafael Paez, 5 Lloyd Jones, 6 Jordan Williams, 7 Kristoffer Peterson, 8 Jordan Lussey, 9 Jack Dunn, 10 Cameron Brannagan, 11 Joao Carlos Teixeira. Substitutes: 12 Connor Randall, 13 Danny Ward, 14 Joe Maguire, 15 Harry Wilson, 16 Vilyan Bijev.

Man Utd: 1 Ben Amos, 2 Guillermo Varela, 3 Reece James, 4 Ben Pearson, 5 Paddy McNair, 6 Charni Ekangamene, 7 Saidy Janko, 8 Joe Rothwell, 9 James Wilson, 10 Tom Lawrence, 11 Andreas Pereira. Substitutes: 12 James Weir, 13 Joel Pereira, 14 Josh Harrop, 15 Donald Love, 16 Matthew Willock.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

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Key Points

  • Manchester United beat Liverpool 1-0 in Barclays Under-21 Premier League play-off semi-final
  • Andreas Pereira scores the only goal at Anfield
  • The defending champions will face Chelsea in the final