Manchester United faced off with Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in the 7th place play-off in the Mercedes Benz Junior Cup. A 1-0 victory meant that United finished 7th out of 8 teams. It was a poor showing from the Reds who were defending champions coming into this year’s competition.
Angel Gomes, the youngest player in the competition, was through on goal in the opening minute but couldn’t sort out his feet to get a shot off. Shortly afterwards Indy Boonen found Gomes in the box with a neat pass but the 15-year old couldn’t beat the goalkeeper.
Jake Kenyon saw a chance go wide, before Callum Gribbin almost forced his way through only for the goalkeeper to claim the ball. Boonen had a good strike but it was saved by the goalkeeper, as United dominated the first half without scoring.
Gribbin got on the scoresheet in the second half with his fifth goal of the tournament to give the Reds the lead. Faustin Makela forced a brilliant save from the Evergrande goalkeeper from a difficult angle. Lovely work from Boonen found Warren in the box but the defender shot over the crossbar. Boonen then found Gomes but the shot hit the crossbar and rebounded out of danger.
Overall, the squad struggled to adapt to the style of play required in this format. Incisive attacking foot quick feet, and shots on goal are generally seen in teams that do well in this format and this was lacking from United. It should be noted that the Reds had one of the youngest squads at the tournament which combined with a lack of experience of this type of football may have contributed to the final placing.