City Football Academy. Kick-Off: 12pm
Manchester United’s under 18s side faced a difficult league opener against local rivals Manchester City today.
Newly appointed coach Travis Binnion sent out a relatively inexperienced side, with the biggest talents at the level, such as Isak Hansen-Aaroen, Charlie McNeill and Dillon Hoogewerf, among others, having progressed on to under 23 level.
The game kicked off with a scare for the Reds. City hit an immediate long ball over United’s 16 year-old left back, Sam Murray, which winger Adedire Mebude latched onto and drew a good save down low from Radek Vitek.
United responded with a well executed Sam Murray corner that fell to centre back Louis Jackson at the back post, but his attempt to help the ball in on the volley was just wide.
After building pressure on United, City’s first goal came just over a half an hour in. The ball was worked down the right wing again, Mebude picked out the overlapping run of City’s number 9, Nico O Reilly who squared it.
The low cross wasn’t dealt with and left winger, Luca Barrington arrived late to finish near post past Vitek.
City started to carve United open through midfield and any wind was knocked out of United’s sails soon after, when right back Rico Lewis pressed high and dispossessed Murray from the goal kick.
Lewis carried the ball into the box and after two step-overs and a jink to his right, he drove the ball low and just inside the near post.
United tried to respond before half time when Spanish winger Alejandro Garnacho was through on goal from the left but his shot was saved well by Josh McNamara.
City continued to have the majority of dangerous moments into the second half but United hung on for a period.
But in the 77th minute City secured the three points. They won a duel in midfield and with two passes were in behind United’s defence, again on the right of the box.
Mebude’s low strike was well saved by the feet of Vitek but the rebound fell to substitute Joel Ndala who tapped it in with his left foot.
The Reds tried to push for a consolation but couldn’t crack the opposing defence.
It was an opening fixture to forget for United’s new faces.