Manchester United bowed out of the UEFA Youth League after the Under-19 side could only draw 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk in a must-win final fixture.
The result was tough on the young Reds, who had looked the better side without really threatening to score the crucial opener. Olexander Zinchenko netted at a time when United were starting to need to commit extra men forward in search of a goal and, although Ashley Fletcher levelled with four minutes left to spark a frenetic finale, there was no fairytale ending.
The first half was a mostly cagey affair but Pierluigi Gollini was forced to make a vital save after only 12 minutes. The Reds were caught napping following a Zinchenko free-kick and Artur Miranyan was left in the clear, only for Gollini to make a superb block.
Although Viktor Kovalenko also forced a routine stop out of United's Italian goalkeeper, the hosts looked a threat although Andreas Pereira was unable to profit after being put clear by James Wilson. After Josh Harrop was unable to release Wilson, the skipper later displayed neat footwork after being picked out by Joe Rothwell but could only produce a wayward finish.
Sean Goss had a shot blocked and Wilson turned Taras Kacharaba beautifully to fire powerfully across goal as Nicky Butt's side shaded the opening period in front of a crowd of 1,903.
In the second half, Wilson won the ball from Mykola Matviyenko, only for the defender to barge him over inside the box with the referee waving away penalty appeals. There was a shout at the other end soon afterwards but Andriy Boryachuk was rightly booked for diving after Gollini did not appear to make any contact.
Pereira managed to get a rare shot away that was comfortably held by Bogdan Sarnavskiy as time began to run out for the Reds. United substitute Sam Byrne and Saidy Janko, with a mishit cross, also mustered efforts on goal but Zinchenko broke the deadlock for Shakhtar with 13 minutes left, firing in a cross by Oleksandr Zubkov.
United bravely battled back and, when Pereira's shot appeared to strike a hand inside the box, Wilson did not wait for a decision by the referee, instead setting up substitute