Despite being at the Academy level, a derby will always remain a derby and a thrilling match was up today. United took on Manchester City at AON Training Complex on 11:00 am, a battle between the first and second place that was a promising game without even starting, fast and furious as we’d expect. Minute of silence was kept for the victims of the plane crash in Colombia.
Both sides picked strong lineups with City picking players from their U23’s. In the other side, Manchester United played Buffonge, Gribbin, Gomes, Chong and Bohui together. An injured Indy Boonen missed the derby while RoShaun Williams was dropped from the U23’s in the U18s level after playing for the Reserves on Monday night against Reading U23.
As the game started City seemed to be more dangerous in the final third constantly pushing forward but our youngsters defended well, not leaving space for them in the dangerous area with Williams beautifully tackling on Jibodu. However, the spot kept the game level as Sebtaoui was almost beaten in the fifth minute. After that, it was all about United in the upcoming minutes with our front players constantly trying to find the net but with no result. Chong kept moving forward from time to time but Bohui couldn’t benefit from his passes being stopped by the City goalie and other two times being caught offside.
Chong tried a few times as well and was caught offside once again for United. Great game so far but both teams couldn’t make it past through the goalies. Another decent performance from Gribbin as after losing the ball, he ran 30 yards to win it back. Signs of progression for the United youngsters as he did a work in today’s game both defensively and up front that made United dangerous. A nervy game followed as O’Connor caused a free kick for the young Citizens which was immediately blocked by Warren. Both United and City tried to find the lead but both keepers, in great form in this game, stopped Tahith Chong and Bolton to score for their teams respectively. Gomes who has been key to this side this season kept City under constant threat and only the offside flag stopped him from doing so in the 42nd minute. Three minutes later, after a brilliant build-up piece from the team, it was Gribbin who gave United the lead curling the ball on the left side of the net. A late challenge saw Whelan booked in the last-minute of the first half.
As the second half started, United had no changes in their XI while O’Connor switched sides with Tanner in the fullback, continuing the amazing work in left side with Tanner testing Sokol with a powerful right foot. United wasn’t awarded with a free kick after Chong went down as the referee completely ignored that. Chong came off injured for Ethan Hamilton. Bohui won United a valuable penalty that could have seen United with two goals ahead but Gribbin missed as his shot was over the bar.
This half promised for goals and surely we weren’t disappointed as City encouraged by those missed chances in the first half constantly kept threatening United and after a bad marking from the defense and also escaping to three challenges managed to level the game with Diaz.
Gribbin was then substituted for Aidan Barlow, a great performance but it’s a real shame that he wasn’t able to score again in that penalty. However United didn’t surrender and once again it was Bohui who perfectly crossed to DJ Buffonge to give United the lead once again. A thrilling match so far, with both sides not wasting any minute to go upfront. An injured Lee O’Connor was unable to help United – his only mistake of the game and Sebtaoui after stopping Foden first, couldn’t do anything with his second shot and the game finished level.
A decent derby, as both sides kept trying to win the game and Nmecha nearly won it for Manchester City but was unable to score as once again the United goalie denied him and blocked his shot.
Full Time and Kieran McKenna’s boys couldn’t go more than a draw against their city opponents. It might be considered a deserved result as United was more clinical in the first half and found the goal with Gribbin and was always upfront to threaten City. However, in the second half, the game was level as both teams scored and defensive errors cost a lot to both teams.
Things stay the same in the table with City first and United second and it was another amazing performance with goals, something that Academy fanatics are used to see from this U18s side this season.
Goals: Callum Gribbin 45′ DJ Buffonge 85′
Manchester United: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, Warren, Williams, O’Connor (Burkart); Buffonge, Whelan; Gribbin (Barlow), Gomes, Chong (Hamilton); Bohui
Substitutes Not Used: Fojticek, Dunne