THE ACADEMY

29/07/2009 21:22, Report by Ben Hibbs

Fenerbahce await in semis

United's youngsters overcame tough opponents Desportivo Brasil in dramatic fashion in the Milk Cup, securing a semi-final tie with Fenerbahce after a tense 6-5 penalty shoot-out win.

Following on from 3-0 and 4-0 victories over County Antrim and Club Cantalao earlier in the competition, United were always likely to face a much sterner test from the talented Brazilians.

And so it proved, as the game ended 0-0 and entered a shoot-out. But Paul McGuinness' young charges held their nerve to win 6-5, with United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone proving to be the hero of the night, saving Desportivo's sixth spot-kick.

However, for the Reds to reach the final and have a shot at retaining the Premier crown, McGuinness' charges may need to raise the performance levels even further against Fenerbahce, who United meet at Ballymena Showgrounds on Thursday (KO 18:00 BST).

The Turkish side have scored 10 goals in the tournament so far and once again displayed a slick brand of football in beating Cherry Orchard 5-0 in their quarter-final tie.

FC Porto take on Sheffield United in the other semi-final.