UK Manchester United see first-team potential in FA Youth Cup defeat last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Man United's wait for FA Youth Cup success will stretch to a decade after defeat to Chelsea in the semi-finals at St George's Park.
Breaking News ! On the Sir Bobby Charlton pitch one of his most famed teammates was remembered. The poignant pre-match remembrance of European Cup and World Cup immortal Nobby Stiles, as well as the former Manchester City academy player Jeremy Wisten, were sobering reminders for the assembled teenagers of the tragedy and triumph football entails. For the two 18-boy squads, the FA Youth Cup is a twice in a lifetime shot at chiselling a year onto the honours' board. Long after he retired, Stiles helped Eric Harrison knock the Class of '92 into shape and pave the way for Sir Alex Ferguson's second great side. Every United Youth Cup-winning squad has produced at least one player who made 50 first-team appearances. Nobody mimicked Stiles more in the Class of '92 than Nicky Butt, present with Tony Whelan and Dave Bushell, other keepers of the United academy flame. United's Youth Cup drought will stretch to a decade - their longest since the 28 years between George Best's brilliance in 1964 and Butt's class. Chelsea, winners seven times in the 2010s, could draw level with United on 10 against Manchester City on Monday. United coaches will argue the true gauge of a successful squad is the conversion rate into first-team members. United are peerless on that front; eight of their 2018-19 Youth Cup participants have played for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The teenagers who arrived in the remote, sprawling St George's Park were just grateful the Youth Cup has restarted. Chelsea were due to host United in mid-March and the inordinate wait left some youngsters anxious their chance had gone, with winger Anthony Elanga badgering staff for updates. United's quarter-final matchwinner, Deji Sotona, has already left for Nice and centre-back Ben Hockenhull is now in Brentford's B team. United last reached a Youth Cup semi-final in 2012. Teden Mengi has spent almost five months training with the first-team but was insistent on dropping back down to captain the Under-18s. He had to travel to deepest Burton-upon-Trent separately from the team coaches, as he is still in the first-team's COVID bubble. A United staffer commented at one stage: "Teden is defending on his own." Mengi, built like Nemanja Vidic and as serene as Rio Ferdinand, was powerless to prevent Valentino Livramento from fashioning the winner for Bryan Fiabema and held a one-man inquisition. Fiabema's name was spelt wrong on the teamsheet but his celebration hurt more.
. Almost all of United's starters are now recognised as Under-23 squad members and that level is devoid of a competition as prestigious as the Youth Cup, despite its minuscule exposure from the FA. The voluble Mengi was United's only representative with first-team minutes to his name and Chelsea supplemented silk with steel via an imposing defence. The more complete team progressed and Chelsea's second-half game -management belied their callowness. The United contingent sat in the modest stand sighed whenever the ball was hoiked forward by a red shirt. United were nervous and Chelsea nerveless as they peppered Ondrej Mastny's goal in the first 15 minutes, sparking goalmouth scrambles and striking the woodwork. Mengi was the only unflustered defender with Chelsea camped in United's third and there was a palpable edginess on the sidelines.
The makeshift gantry irked Butt enough he relocated to the roof of the gymnasium overlooking the pitch, where the Chelsea staff loomed like snipers. Their players were responsible for all of the shooting until Mark Helm's tame 30th-minute effort. United's front six looked like a collection of strangers against Chelsea's irrepressible press. Mengi rebuked his teammates and implored Hannibal Mejbri to stop milking a rumbustious challenge. Mejbri's continental canniness was giving United a breather and Charlie McCann stringently tested the Chelsea custodian Lucas Bergstrom from a clever corner by Elanga. Chelsea defenders pushed Mejbri's buttons verbally, sycophantically imploring the referee to caution the 17-year-old for petulantly kicking the ball against the advertising hoarding. Mejbri was narked enough to take out his frustrations on Elanga, so unfortunate with an improvised overhead kick that bounced off the crossbar just prior to half-time. United's encouraging end to the half was deceptive and Livramento, a menace for Reece Devine all night, squared for Fiabema within three minutes of the restart. "Ten minutes, just 10 minutes," Mejbri reminded his teammates in the denouement. Time ran out and United went out on a whimper. Mejbri, not 18 until January, will get another chance. United: Mastny, Bejger, Fish, Mengi, Devine (Hardley), McCann, Svidersky, Shoretire (Forson), Mejbri, Elanga, Helm (Wellens)