UEFA Youth League: United 4 Juventus 1
Manchester United's Under-19s took a firm grip on UEFA Youth League Group H with a superb victory in the top-of-the-table clash against Juventus at Leigh Sports Village.
Both teams approached the game with two wins out of two in the competition, but the Reds proved too strong for the Italians with a comprehensive display.
Joshua Bohui and Mason Greenwood earned a two-goal lead and, although Hans Nicolussi Caviglia halved the deficit, James Garner added a third before the first half was out.
After Rafael Fonseca's sending off left Juve down to 10 men at the start of the second period, substitute Dylan Levitt added a 77th-minute fourth to ensure an impressive scoreline.
United were dominant from the outset with Bohui prominent down the left and sending in a dangerous cross after a one-two with Aliou Traore. An early opener arrived when Ethan Laird dug out a quite brilliant cross to the far post and Bohui chested it down before burying a clinical finish past Leonardo Loria.
Greenwood had an attempt which shaved the side-netting, following an astute pass by Garner, before Juve showed they were not to be under-estimated with a venomous drive by Caviglia superbly held by the diving Matej Kovar in the home goal.
However, most of the pressing came from Nicky Butt's side as Traore headed over a Gomes corner and a mazy, determined run by Barlow forced a fine one-handed stop by visiting skipper Loria.
The Italian keeper was earning his pay, parrying over a piledriver by enterprising right-back Laird, but he had no chance on 33 minutes. Garner made an interception and released Greenwood, who never looked like missing as he stroked the ball into the corner of the net.
Traore stung the palms of Loria after another bold run from midfield as Juve threatened to be overwhelmed. Yet the Bianconeri pulled one back, three minutes before the break, when Caviglia squeezed the ball in after Kovar made an initial save from Christian Makoun.
There was still time in the half for United to regain a two-goal advantage, with Joao Serrao left devastated by a stray pass across his own box. Garner capitalised and punished the defender with a ruthless low drive past Loria. Only another eye-catching stop by Kovar kept out a Nicolo Fagioli free-kick before a breathless opening 45 minutes came to a close.
It looked as though little would change in terms of the pattern of the game when United began the second period with Traore forcing another block out of Loria, who used his legs to effect, from a skidded through ball by captain Gomes. However, a flashpoint followed with Fonseca sent off for pushing Bohui in the face and the Reds forward was also shown a yellow card in the incident.
Although a Gomes free-kick kissed the outside of a post, the red card seemed to have a greater impact on Butt's side as some of the intensity went out of the game. Elia Petrelli tested Kovar and Manolo Portanova spurned a decent opening. United did regain some composure but Loria made a couple of smart saves to repel Gomes, who snaked his way into the box, and Barlow, with Di'Shon Bernard unable to force in the rebound.
A triple substitution, utilising the rules of the competition that facilitates up to five changes in a maximum of three different slots, also seemed to briefly affect the rhythm a little, even if the crowd of 1,352 fans could have few complaints about the entertainment on show. And, on 77 minutes, they witnessed another goal as D'Mani Mellor centred for one of the subs, Levitt, to crash in number four.
Juve threatened to pull a goal back late on as Elia Petrelli saw a shot deflected behind for a corner and Kovar had to take evasive action to deal with another threatening delivery.
At the other end, sub Baars - who scored in the 4-0 win over Valencia in United's previous Youth League game - stroked an effort wide from the edge of the box and Greenwood headed wide of the post in stoppage time as the impressive young Reds saw out a fine win.
United: Kovar; Laird (B. Williams 83), Ercolani, Bernard, O'Connor; Garner, Gomes (c) (Puigmal 73), Traore (Levitt 73); Barlow (Baars 73), Greenwood, Bohui (Mellor 61).
Subs not used: Fojticek, Mengi.
United 4 (Bohui 8, Greenwood 33, Garner 44, Levitt 77)
Juventus 1 (Caviglia 42)Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.