Teden Mengi clears the danger for United.

Under-18s beaten by City in semi-finals

Manchester United’s hopes of reaching the Under-18 Premier League Cup final were dashed after going down to a 3-0 defeat against Manchester City at Etihad Campus on Saturday.

Following the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Youth Cup, this was another route to cup glory, but it wasn’t to be against a Blues side that were more clinical in front of goal.

Neil Ryan’s lads are still in the thick of the championship race and, of course, many of the youngsters will hope to be involved in the resumption of the UEFA Youth League.

United's players pay tribute to Eric Harrison.
United's players pay a silent tribute to Eric Harrison and Gordon Banks, who sadly passed away this week.

Both teams were wearing black armbands and the game was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Gordon Banks, England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper and also, particularly for United’s players, staff and supporters, Eric Harrison, United’s legendary youth coach, who both sadly passed away earlier this week.

There was a decent crowd lining the perimeter fence at kick-off time and the weather was more than acceptable with blue skies and fluffy white clouds decorating the scene.

Manchester derby matches are always the same, whatever the level, and this junior cup-tie was no different with both sides showing early on that they meant business. United and City juniors face each other regularly but there was added spice attached this match in Clayton with a place in a national final at stake.

It soon developed into a feisty contest with full-blooded challenges becoming the order of the day.

One heavy tackle left skipper Brandon Williams struggling and, after trying his best to run off the injury, he eventually succumbed to the knock and was replaced by Reece Devine, who appeared against his former club.

By this time, the home side had taken the lead when, in the 17th minute, Felix Nmecha unleashed a low drive that gave United keeper James Thompson little chance of stopping.

Further goalscoring chances were few and far between with Aliou Traore’s fierce drive that fizzed past the post a notable exception, as United were without leading scorer Mason Greenwood due to injury, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also admitting on Friday he would have been under consideration for first-team selection.

Aliou Traore lets fly with a shot.
Aliou Traore tries his luck with a shot for the Reds.

United’s task of forcing a way back into the tie suffered a blow, in the 55th minute, when Fisayo Dele-Bashiru rifled home City’s second goal.

The visitos' requirement to push forward in search of openings intensified as time wore on and, we they were enjoying more possession, the end product continued to elude the Reds with Large Ramazani going close.

Then, with nine minutes remaining, any hopes of a fightback were finally extinguished when Nmecha took advantage of a stretched United defence to hit home his second, and City’s third, goal of the afternoon.

Largie Ramazani has a shot blocked.
Largie Ramazani is unable to reduce the arrears despite some pressure by United.

United: Thompson; Galbraith, Mengi, Garner, B. Williams (Devine 29); Levitt, Traore, McCann (McGhee 55); Ramazani, Mellor, Elanga.<

Substitutes not used: Carney, Stanley, Helm.

Scorers: Nmecha 17,81 Dele-Bashiru 55.

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