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Back came United with Nani unable to profit after being gifted the ball by Pinto and playing a one-two with Kagawa, as Marc Bartra nudged him to the ground inside the box, and the Portuguese winger was then booked, along with Busquets, after a flare-up after being tugged back when sprinting forward.
More substitutions interrupted the flow of the game and penalties appeared increasingly inevitable although Nick Powell and Scott Wootton came off the bench for the best experience of their fledgling careers.
With only three spot-kicks each to be taken, the Reds were up against it when Nani missed with the first effort from 12 yards. After Xavi despatched his attempt, Young's shot was too close to Pinto which allowed ex-United defender Gerard Pique the opportunity to beat De Gea and win the match. It will matter little in the overall scheme of things and there will be plenty of positives for Sir Alex to take from the occasion, witnessed by a crowd of 47,141.
United: De Gea; Valencia, Vidic (Carrick 46), Ferdinand (Wootton 83), Evra; Nani, Scholes, Anderson (Powell 79),Young; Welbeck (Berbatov 67), Rooney (Kagawa 46). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Macheda, Lingard, Brady, M.Keane.