Tuesday 19 April 2016

Varela and Pereira star as young Reds are champions

In a season in which the United Under 21s have produced the most excitement out of any of the club's teams, it was appropriate that they became champions in a very United way.

Guillermo Varela- demoted back down to Warren Joyce's second strong side after he allowed Philippe Coutinho to ghost past him in the Europa League- struck a 94th-minute winner against Tottenham at White Hart Lane to clinch the title.

It was appropriate that Varela and Andreas Pereira- two kindred and gung-ho spirits discarded by Louis van Gaal- shone on a memorable night at White Hart Lane as United's young stars won their league for the second successive season. 

Pereira, ostracised since March, was selfless and clinical in the lone striker's role, scoring a sumptuous volley and striking a post either side of the break. 

To paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson's old age adage, United did not make it easy for themselves.

They led 2-0 early on only to be pegged back by an enterprising Tottenham team before Varela's late heroics summed up the side's season and capped an enthralling match. 

Donald Love, another player overlooked by Van Gaal since his senior breakthrough in February, belted Joyce's charges ahead inside 10 minutes for his first goal in three-and-a-half years before Varela picked out Pereira to clinically finish.

William Miller halved the deficit for dominant Tottenham, who were thwarted time and time again by the impressive Joel Pereira until Joe Pritchard tapped in from close range after Love, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira squandered good openings.

Both sides pressed for the winner but Varela claimed the match and a fourth title in five years with a screamer in stoppage time.

James Weir has been the standout performer for Joyce's side this campaign, although Paddy McNair- another player on the fringes of the first team- alleviated the pressure on the captain with a tidy winner against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford last week.

The league title could be the first trophy of a possible treble for the Under 21 side, with Oldham and Bury to come in the semi-finals of the Lancashire and Manchester Senior Cups respectively. 

United's win over Tottenham moved them two points clear of second placed Sunderland- who have completed their fixtures- and Joyce's team have two games still to play.

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