Sheffield United 0-0 Estoril – Report

Sheffield United’s second pre-season game ended in a 0-0 draw. Both sides struggled to get into a flow in the first half with constant turnovers in possession, but the second half more than delivered.

The Blades once again named two different starting elevens for each half, and it was another opportunity for the youngsters to play alongside the senior players.

First-half XI: Davies, Sachdev, Basham, Trialist, Robinson, Larouci, Neal, Fleck, Osborn, Ndiaye, Jebbison.

Subs: Foderingham, Freckleton, Buyabu, Marsh.

Second-half XI: Foderingham, Baldock, Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Freckleton, Lowe, Berge, Norwood, Slimane, Brooks (Marsh 76), Osula.

Subs: Davies, Sachdev, Neal, Trialist, Marsh, Buyabu.

First half

United struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, as did Estoril who didn’t test Davies in goal.

Fleck would have the best chances of the half. The Scottish midfielder fired a freekick wide of the post after a great run by Jebbison to draw the foul. Shortly after, Ndiaye twisted and turned his way past a collapsing defender. He then teed up Fleck in the middle of the area who failed to connect cleanly with his first-timed effort.

Second half

The second half was where all the action was at and United looked far more composed on the ball with a balanced midfield of Norwood, Berge and the debutant Slimane.

In the 62nd minute, the Blades thought they took the lead when Osula latched onto a lofted through ball, by Berge, which sent him clean through. The young Dane finished the move in style by lifting the ball over the advancing goalkeeper. However, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside which was a shocking call – Osula appeared to be onside by at the very least a couple of yards.

Estoril would pose a threat on the counterattack and Foderingham answered his calls into action. He would get down well to deny Joao Carlos who hit a shot into the bottom right corner.

In the final 20 minutes, United piled on the pressure and were left wondering how the ball didn’t find the net on several occasions. Egan was the first player to hit the woodwork before Osula produced a powerful overhead kick that smacked the underside of the bar and stayed out. Slimane was inches away from a debut goal as he tried to reach the rebound. Berge had an effort saved by Estoril’s keeper.

Slimane showed a lot of promise in his 45-minute cameo and he was vitally unlucky to not find the top corner when he unleashed a whipping long-range effort late on which hit the corner of the woodwork.

The Blades had Foderingham to thank for the clean sheet when he was forced into a save from Serginho.

United’s second-half performance warranted a goal, and they will feel aggrieved with the incorrect offside call, and those three attempts that hit the woodwork.


Paul Heckingbottom spoke to SUTV to give his reaction to the game:

“45 minutes for everyone, a step up in competitiveness and quality. From that aspect, really good.”

Heckingbottom was asked about the debutants Yasser Larouci and Anis Slimane:

“We just wanted to get them involved in their first game. There’s a couple of elements that we’ve tried to work with them with the ball and without the ball.”

United will look to increase the intensity levels over the next coming days:

“We’ve got a lighter day tomorrow, and then a couple of really tough days on Friday and Saturday. Then when we come back next week, they’ll be a little more focus on the games and players playing more minutes than what we’ve had so far.”

Will Osula was desperately unlucky not to score against Estoril, and Heckingbottom praised the youngster:

“The most pleasing moment was the goal he scored because he was onside. He missed a couple the other day but we’ll make sure we’ll show him that his run was good, the ball from Sander was good and his finish was good.”

The gaffer added that had Osula’s touch been better on a few occasions then “he could’ve been coming off with a hattrick”.





Tags Estoril Match report Preseason Sheffield United