Anatomy of a goal: Andreas Pereira’s fantastic volley

If he continues to play for another ten years or more, Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira may never score a better goal in his career than the roaring volley that cannoned into the net from the bottom of the crossbar in the club’s pre-season friendship with Brentford. .

After joining the academy at the age of 16 and being tipped for future constellations, Pereira has a lot to prove at United. He played 40 matches in all competitions in 2019/20 but started only 18 times in the Premier League and was sent off during the second half of the campaign when the arrival of Bruno Fernandes triggered significant performance improvements.

Critics suggested that Pereira, who had previously failed to order a regular place and had played most of his football before that time on loan in Spain, was only involved due to a lack of other better options. When Fernandes arrived and Paul Pogba returned to fitness, he was suddenly limited to occasional replacement appearances at best, if he even made the bench at all.

Pereira was then considered to be in excess of the demands of Ole Gunnar Solskjær last summer and was then sent on loan to Lazio with a call option for 27 million euros.

Pereira failed to establish himself on loan at Lazio / Giampiero Sposito / Getty Images

If he could impress in Italy, it would be a good opportunity for United to raise money for a player without a future in Manchester. Pereira played 26 respectably in Serie A, but only three were as a start and he made no close impact to justify paying 27 million euros.

As a result, the player now called ‘Pre-season Pirlo’ has found himself back at United this summer. He has been heavily involved so far, but only because Fernandes, Pogba, Fred and Scott McTominay have been on delayed holidays after playing in international tournaments. Even Donny van de Beek has just returned to the week after breastfeeding an injury.

But in an isolated moment when United met Brentford at Old Trafford in this summer’s third friendly, nothing about Pereira’s future or lack of prospects at the club mattered, as he scored an incredible goal in what was just a second home game in front of 16-month-old fans. .

United had 10,000 fans present for their last home game last season against Fulham as coronavirus restrictions in England began to ease. But in a stadium the size of Old Trafford, it was barely a fraction full. This time, when clubs have agreed on the end of official restrictions but still continue to ensure that all supporters will remain safe, 30,000 participated.

Old Trafford went half full when Pereira hit a ball as sweet as he ever has or will do again. A little less than half full Old Trafford would once have been a sad sight, but in connection with the past year and a half in the middle of a pandemic, it was magical.

Regardless of the 2-2 goal and the fixture’s prestige, Pereira’s goal was a perfect way to start welcoming fans back to United matches after such a long time away.

It didn’t really work out when the ball was released from the sky to Pereira. Jesse Lingard did attempt a finish, but from an awkward position, sending the ball into the away fans. The loose ball is led high out into the night sky and out of the box and the sensible thing for Pereira to do would have been to control and start a new wave of attacks.

Stop what you do and admire this magic? #MUFC @AndrinhoPereira

– Manchester United (@ManUtd) 28 July 2021

Instead of being placed around 25 meters out, he settled for the shot and fired the ball for the first time on the volley back towards the goal. It flew towards the top corner and crashed off the bottom from the crossbar, with Brentford stopper David Raya just watching.

It would still have been sensational if it had simply hit the back of the net, but there is always something more special when such a volley goes in from the crossbar.

Solskjaer later called it “out of this world”, and whatever happens, it will remain for a moment for Pereira and the 30,000 fans who witnessed it live for treasure.

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