But the hosts could only manage a 1-1 draw to finish third in their group, a point behind Korean side Ulsan Hyundai as well as group winners Real Madrid.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tommy Martin’s young Reds had defeated Ulsan 4-2 to keep their hopes alive, having opened on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw against San Luis de Quillota of Chile and a late 1-0 defeat to unbeaten Real.
All the teams in the finals play on until they are placed in the 20, so United will be action again on Thursday against Ghana’s Right to Dream academy, who also finished third in their group.
The eight remaining sides – Real, Ulsan, Dinamo Zagreb, AC Milan, SC Internacional (Brazil), Arsenal, Grasshopper Zurich and NK Domzale (Slovenia) – will battle it out to reach the final at Old Trafford on Friday.
The tournament, won by Chile’s Universidad Catolica last year, has been contested since 1993/94, with United partnering Nike to host it since 2003.
Famous names who have competed in it include the Da Silva twins (for Fluminense in 2005), Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres and Robinho.
Visit the official Manchester United Premier Cup website.