UEFA Youth League | Prenton Park | Scorers: Woodburn 11, Camacho 77
Manchester United's youngsters were undone by goals from Liverpool's Ben Woodburn and Rafael Camacho in the UEFA Youth League round-of-16 tie at Prenton Park.
The home side quickly gained the upper hand on a difficult surface, with Tranmere Rovers having played Macclesfield Town on Tuesday night, and made inroads towards Alex Fojticek's goal. Woodburn had a shot blocked and the overworked Ro-Shaun Williams cleared a cross from the dangerous Curtis Jones.
An opening goal duly arrived in the 11th minute when Neco Williams crossed from the right to pick out a free Woodburn in the box. Fojticek could not keep the header out, as he pushed it into the top corner of the net.
Bobby Adekanye and Liam Millar broke to tee up Jones for another chance and Woodburn fired over following good work by Millar. Tyrell Warren, playing at left-back, hacked a Jones shot away as the home fans looked to greet a second goal.
By far the Reds' best move of the half came six minutes before the break when Ethan Laird escaped down the right and delivered a telling ball into the middle. Tahith Chong did everything right, meeting it on the full, but his volley crashed back off the woodwork with Kamil Grabara beaten.
Nicky Butt's side managed another effort on goal when Joshua Bohui wriggled free but shot off target when having other options in the box. At the other end, Elijah Dixon-Bonner let fly from distance and the deflected attempt clipped the bar on its way over.
Butt's team-talk had some effect with Laird pushing further forward and soon bursting forward to pick out Aidan Barlow. The midfielder elected to shoot and Grabara clawed it away in spectacular fashion. The Reds pressed higher up the pitch and Bohui robbed Grabara to set up Chong, only for the Dutchman's finish towards an inviting net to lack power and Conor Masterson was able to block.
Dixon-Bonner lashed wide at the other end to prompt a spell of more control by the Merseysiders, with Jones extending Fojticek with a curler. However, United remained very much in the tie with Ro-Shaun Williams's header from Angel Gomes's free-kick lacking the direction to beat Grabara.
Chong started to hit top gear and was unlucky when crashing a drive just the wrong side of the post as he and Laird looked lively down the right with the visitors desperately chasing an equaliser. The prospect of getting caught on the break was clear, with Jones spurning one opening, and so it proved when substitute Camacho wrapped it up.
Gomes's hopeful ball was cleared with Woodburn then shrugging off the United no.10 to free Camacho with the outside of his boot. The Portuguese wide man unleashed a fierce drive that flew over Fojticek to effectively settle the tie. Despite a double change with forwards Nishan Burkart and D'Mani Mellor thrown on, there was no way back. Consequently, it is Steven Gerrard's men who progress to meet Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the competition.