United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Blue Stars 2009: Day 2

Posted by nickogs20 on May 21, 2009

Two draws, just the one goal, a penalty shootout and, ultimately, a creditable fifth place in the tournament for MUFC. Read on for all the news from the second day of this year’s Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup.

United went into day two still smarting from their 5-1 mauling at the hands of FC Basel the previous evening, and further bad news was to follow before the Reds even took to the field at Buchlern. FCB’s final group game against Fenerbahce was one of the first fixtures of the day, and a 2-0 win for the Swiss side assured that United would not be able to reach the tournament final. Brazilian side Flamengo also picked up three points (against FC Blue Stars) ahead of United’s fourth and final group game, which meant that Paul McGuinness’ boys would be required to beat the Rio de Janeiro outfit handily to nab second place in the group and a chance to match last year’s third-place finish.

Unbowed by the early-morning setbacks, the Reds weathered an early storm from their opponents (largely thanks to the efforts of Conor Devlin in goal) and took the lead just before half-time through the lively Cameron Stewart. That advantage was unfortunately cancelled out midway through the second half by a penalty from Lucas, setting up a frantic last ten minutes where United pressed for the goals to improve their group position and the Brazilians searched for the solitary strike that would have put them into the final. Ultimately, both sides were to be disappointed as the game finished 1-1, the Reds having to settle for 3rd place and an enticing-looking 5th/6th playoff with Real Madrid, while Flamengo took second and a spot in the playoff for third opposite FC Zurich.

After watching Fenerbahce beat Hertha Berlin for 9th place and FC Blue Stars edge out Beijing Guoan on penalties for seventh, United took to the field again looking to finish the tournament on a high against Real Madrid in a match that pitted the U20 selections of perhaps the two biggest clubs in the world against each other. A tense affair saw plenty of effort and probing but little inspiration from two tired sides, and with the deadlock resolutely refusing to be broken, another penalty shootout would be required to decide the placings. Happily, United held their nerve while the Spaniards went to pieces – Oliver Norwood, Rodrigo Possebon and Febian Brandy all converting from 12 yards for the Reds, those three kicks enough to secure victory after Oscar, Kamal and Alex were unsuccessful for Los Merengues.

In the 3rd/4th playoff, FC Zurich overcame Flamengo 2-0 to register a popular victory with the home crowd, before FC Basel went one better than last year’s runners-up spot and edged out Grasshoppers Club 1-0 in an all-Swiss final, Shaqiri netting the vital goal past the tournament’s best goalkeeper Steven Deana inside the last ten minutes. Basel’s Pascal Schürpf would later be named the competition’s outstanding outfield player, while FC Blue Stars were awarded the Fair Play trophy.

No 19th Blue Stars title to add to the trophy cabinet for the Reds then, but further priceless experience for the 18 youngsters who travelled to Switzerland, and that spot-kick victory over Madrid is a nice way for most of those involved to bring their 2008/09 season to a close. MUTV will have highlights from the tournament next weekend (30th/31st May), and the official Blue Stars website has a selection of photos which should hopefully be added to extensively over the coming days.

United Lineups
vs Flamengo:
Devlin; Moffatt, Evans, Eckersley, Dudgeon; Norwood, Possebon, James, Stewart; Ajose (Brady 35), Morrison (Drinkwater 30)
Booked: Eckersley, Possebon
vs Real Madrid: Devlin; Moffatt (Brandy 21), Evans, Wootton, Dudgeon; Stewart, Drinkwater, James, Norwood; Morrison, Ajose. (Possebon also must have been a sub)

2 Responses to “Blue Stars 2009: Day 2”

  1. aidan said

    Eckersley and Possebon for hull then?! i think so. On bench at least. I have a feeling Matty James might warm the seats too. I want brandy to feature but im not sure if he can. Can anyone clarify that?

    My Prediction…Kuz, Rafael, Neville, Jonny, Eckersley, Nani, Fletcher, Gibson, Tosic, Welbeck, Macheda.
    Subs… Amos, De laet, O’shea, Possebon, James, Martin, Brandy

  2. he won’t be able to play that much of a weak team I reckon Rafael, Fletcher, Nani will all play

    If Tevez does its over for him

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