UNDER-21S

Manchester Senior Cup
Ewen Fields, 24 August 2010

MANCHESTER CITY 1
Nimely (11)

MANCHESTER UNITED 3
Macheda (38 & 72), Cleverley (75)
24/08/2010 19:56, Report by Steve Bartram
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Reserves: City 1 United 3

A strong United side recovered from falling behind to overcome Manchester City through Kiko Macheda's clinical brace and a Tom Cleverley strike.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed several first-teamers some valuable playing time in his side's first competitive match of the season. Anderson and Rafael clocked up an hour, Michael Carrick notched 73 minutes and Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Chris Smalling and Darron Gibson all lasted for 90 minutes.

Cleverley and Macheda also played for the entire match, with Cleverley particularly eye-catching in an advanced role cutting in from the left flank.

The strength of United's team was undeniable. All 11 starters were capped by their countries at various levels, with six youth internationals and five seniors. Even the bench was of international standard: Oliver Norwood, a fortnight after his full Northern Ireland bow, was an unused substitute.

Despite the mass of experience clad in Red, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued his pre-season trend by naming Magnus Eikrem as his captain. The skipper created the game's first opening on nine minutes, as his back post cross found the unmarked Cleverley, who could only plant his header against the City bar.

Within two minutes, however, the hosts moved into the lead. Alex Nimely, a thorn in United's sides at Reserve team level previously, took advantage of a ricochet on the edge of the area and unleashed a fine low shot inside Ben Amos' post.

In an opening half-hour of few chances, it was the hosts who appeared more composed and familiar. United's star names had been included in a bid to clock up vital playing time, so slight ring rust was to be expected.

Soon enough, the Reds began to click. Cleverley curled just off-target from a promising position, before Macheda drew the Reds level in sublime fashion.

The Italian nodded the ball down to Cleverley and motored inside, while the play was spread to Eikrem. The Norwegian threaded a neat ball to Macheda,

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