After a bleak week for the senior side, Manchester United’s youngsters lifted the gloom around the club by ending Chelsea’s five-year dominance of the FA Youth Cup. A stunning hat-trick Mason Greenwood and a tap-in from former Blues youngster Di’Shon Bernard sealed victory for United in the third round of the competition at Leigh Sports Village.
It means the trophy will be leaving west London for the first time since 2013. An early exit denies Chelsea the chance to equal United’s record of 10 wins with the Manchester club now out to lift the trophy for the first time since 2011 – a team that included current first-team stars Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba.
17-year-old Greenwood, widely expected by many to become the next youngster to march into the senior side, opened the scoring after seven minutes. After being named in Jose Mourinho’s squad for last week’s Champions League clash against Valencia, the forward was presented with an early gift when Chelsea goalkeeper Karlo Ziger slipped after receiving a backpass, allowing Greenwood to slot home.
Tariq Lamptey equalised for the Blues, capping a fine move minutes before the half-time whistle but Greenwood added his second just after the break, dropping a stepover to jink past his man before curling home another precise effort. Bernard, who left London to join United’s academy in 2017, added a third before being shown a red card for a second yellow card.
As tempers began to flare in the second-half, an ice-cold Greenwood looked to put the contest to bed; racing onto a loose pass from 40 yards out to beat two men and fire home again – his 22nd in 19 games this season with his side down to 10 men, Greenwood was also prepared to put in the hard yards, diligently covering in Bernard’s absence on another extraordinary night for the teenager.
Chelsea were given hope however when Anthony Elanga conceded a penalty, with Faustino Anjorin netting from 12 yards out. Daishawn Redan scored for the visitors a minute later to ensure a nervy ending, with United’s surviving five minutes of injury time to progress into the next round