Record-breaking crowd sees Manchester United win 11th FA Youth Cup
Manchester United Under-18s have been crowned FA Youth Cup winners after a 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Travis Binnion’s young Reds rose to the occasion in front of a remarkable record-breaking 67,492 crowd at the Theatre of Dreams.
Rhys Bennett's early goal and Alejandro Garnacho's second-half double secured a victory over the hard-working Forest side.
Everyone at United is immensely proud to see this young side win a record-extending 11th FA Youth Cup. It is our first triumph in the tournament since 2011, when current first-team players Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba were involved.
Captain Rhys Bennett’s powerful 13th-minute header from a clipped Sam Murray free-kick cross put United in front. The centre-back was alive to the cute ball over the Forest defence and got down to power it past Aaron Bott before tearing away in passionate celebration.
Forest threatened soon after when Justin Hanks's header rose over Radek Vitek's goal, but it was United who continued to attack with incision. Isak Hansen offered control in attacking midfield, conducting several moves, while Kobbie Mainoo created a good chance for Garnacho after 37 minutes, which the winger curled wide.
The Argentine-Spanish forward - who was presented with the Jimmy Murphy award for U18s Player of the Year before the match - shot again soon after, this time from a Dan Gore pass, but watched his effort fly narrowly wide.
Shortly before the break, a speculative left-footed drive from Joshua Powell slipped through the fingers of Vitek to level the score.
Vitek showed great resilience early in the second half, diving bravely down in the box to snuff out an early Forest chance. United were soon back creating chances at the other end, with McNeill drawing a good save, Garnacho watching a shot blocked after Mainoo was tackled just before pulling the trigger.
Bott then parried a powerful long-range drive from right-back Marc Jurado, cutting inside from the wing, with the loose ball falling just to the right of McNeill.
Vitek soon earned plaudits again with a scrambling save to deny the lively Esapa Osong. He later claimed a teasing Forest cross as the visitors gained a real foot-hold in the game.
The opportunity to restore United's lead came when Garnacho was felled by Zach Abbott on the edge of the penalty area. With regular taker McNeill recently taken off for Joe Hugill, it was Garnacho who stepped up to take the ensuing spot-kick, dispatching it calmly past Bott.
The Argentinian winger sealed the victory with his second, finishing past Bott with the help of a deflection in added time after a storming run down the left flank.
U18s: United 3 Forest 1Gallery
The young Reds are FA Youth Cup winners for the 11th time!
United XI: Vitek; Jurado, Bennett (c), Jackson, Murray; Mainoo, Gore; Mather (Aljofree 86), Hansen-Aaroen (Oyedele 64), Garnacho; McNeill (Hugill 64).
Unused subs: Pye, Wooster, Forson, Ennis.
Goal(s): Rhys Bennett 13, Alejandro Garnacho (p) 78, Garnacho 90+4.
Forest XI: Bott; Abbott, Hammond, Johnson, McAdam; Hanks (Gardner 81), McDonnell (c) (Korpal 90+1); Powell, Taylor, Collins (Perry 73); Osong.
Unused subs: Akers; Perkins, Thompson, Perry, Nadin, Gardner, Korpal.
Goal(s): Joshua Powell 43.