Nicky Butt’s Under-19 Manchester United squad won three of their four matches in an impressive start to the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup yesterday.
The six-a-side tournament was divided into two groups for the first round and United’s youngsters were pitted against Fluminense, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund in Group B.
The 18 minute long games allow multiple mass substitutions throughout so 11 of the 12 man squad featured in each match and United got off to a great start with a 2-0 win over Brazilian side Fluminense in their opening match. The goals came from Matthew Willock and Josh Harrop who have featured regularly in Paul McGuinness’ Under-18 side this season.
In the second match, United played Schalke 04 where they narrowly lost 2-1. There is some confusion surrounding the identity of United’s scorer and it remains unknown. Patrick McNair missed a chance to equalise when he put an effort over the open goal and the loss loss left them in third place in the group, just behind Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.
United then faced off with Dortmund in their final Group B match. The German side took a 2-0 lead and time was running out when the young Reds made a fantastic comeback in true United fashion. James Wilson and Patrick McNair scored with help from Josh Harrop. Then, with 15 seconds left, Ben Pearson snatched the victory.
That win saw United leapfrog Dortmund to clinch second place and they qualified for Group One in the second round of the competition. They faced Freiburg in their final match of the day and finished off in style winning 3-0. The goals all came in the first half and were scored by James Weir, Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell.
The Under-19s will face Grasshopper Club Zürich at 12 noon today with further games throughout the day depending on where they finish in Group One.
Live streaming will be available here.