31/07/2009 20:47, Report by Ben Hibbs
Milk Cup: United 2 Sheff Utd 1
United have won the Milk Cup premier crown for the second year in a row after an impressive 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Coleraine Showgrounds.
The prestigious youth tournament is a staple of United youth teams' pre-season preparations. And after wins over County Antrim (3-0), Club Cantalao (4-0), Desportivo Brasil (on penalties) and Fenerbahce 2-1, the Reds faced Sheffield United in the final.
The Blades are physical and predictably came quickly out of the traps. It was a nervy start for United, which is understandable on such an occasion, but once Paul McGuinness' charges settled they soon moved in front. An attack down the left midway through the half ended with captain Robbie Brady squaring the ball for Michael Ngoo, who kept his cool to stroke the ball into the back of the net.
Ngoo, a trialist from Southend, was involved in United's second as well, which arrived fifteen minutes from time. Latching onto a pass into the area, the tall attacker flicked the ball back for playmaking midfielder Etzaz Hussain to sidefoot in United's second.
The Blades pulled a goal back late on, though it was little more than a consolation - albeit deserved for their persistent effort. But United had done enough to retain the trophy.
McGuinness was delighted his side became the first to retain the trophy. "It's a great achievement," he said. "Quite a few of these players can come back next year, so maybe we'll make it three in a row. The conditions were difficult but we dealt with it well. The second goal was a magnificent team goal, so hopefully we entertained the crowd as well."