Angel Gomes shoots during the Academy friendly between Club Brugge and Manchester United in Belgium

Reds overcome Brugge in Academy friendly

Thursday 20 February 2020 14:15

A Manchester United Under-19s side gained some invaluable European experience on Thursday afternoon, by playing out a tight and keenly contested friendly match against their Club Brugge counterparts.

Six hours before the senior sides' Europa League fixture, the two clubs' Academy teams met at a location called Basecamp for a behind-closed-doors outing in blustery, challenging conditions, with strong winds blowing across the pitch and affecting the ball from start to finish.

Undeterred, United produced a professional performance and earned a 2-0 victory over the talented Belgians, thanks to second-half goals from Tahith Chong and James Garner.
The players and officials pose for a pre-match pic.
Neil Wood, assisted by Quinton Fortune, named a starting XI that had lots of experience, with occasional first-team players Garner, Dylan Levitt, Angel Gomes and Chong all involved. 

The Reds began brightly and moved the ball around confidently, as D’Mani Mellor ran hard while leading the attack, and Chong unleashed a shot from close range that was blocked by a defender.

However, it was the hosts who arguably created the better first-half chances.

Jarno Vervaque had an early shot palmed over the bar and Arne Engels hit another long-range effort wide, before the same player brought out an excellent save from Matej Kovar moments later. The ball then dropped kindly to Wilkims Ochieng, whose shot flew wide under pressure from Chong.

Kovar was clearly in good form and our young goalkeeper produced another impressive moment towards the end of the first period, when making a one-handed save to deny Samuel Asoma.

Aidan Barlow, who recently returned from a loan spell in Norway, concluded an entertaining first half of action when the left-sided forward hit a shot off target when suddenly played through on goal.

Watch our video of Tahith Chong's opening goal for the Reds.
Wood made one change for the start of the second half by introducing Max Taylor and his arrival at centre-back prompted a slight reshuffle in positioning, with Teden Mengi moving inside from right-back to centre-back, which in turn allowed Garner to push forward into central midfield. 

The action continued to be engaging and Kovar made another top save to block a low shot from Rabbi Mwenda. That directly led to a United attack up the left wing and the deadlock was soon broken, as Mellor’s left-footed cross was calmly finished by Chong at the back post.
See how James Garner put the game to bed by scoring the Reds' second goal.
Aliou Traore, Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri were all introduced late in the second period as Wood utlilised his squad, ensuring as many players as possible benefited from the encounter.

The Reds' victory was sealed when Garner drove from the halfway line, ploughing through the heart of Brugge's midfield and defence, before beating the keeper to register a glorious solo goal.

United: Kovar; Mengi, Garner, Bernard (Taylor), McGhee; Levitt (Mejbri), Gomes, Galbraith; Chong, Mellor (Shoretire), Barlow (Traore).

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