Sporting wipe out United; Reds edge Cubs

Sporting Lisbon U-19 trounced Manchester United U-19 with a 4-1 win in the NexLions Cup, while Liverpool edged a narrow 1-0 win over the Singapore Youth Select side.

NexLions Cup
Kelvin Yap

By Kelvin Yap

In the opening match of the competition, a ruthless Sporting Lisbon side recorded a commanding 4-1 victory over Manchester United but needed to dig deep and come from behind to secure the victory at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The Red Devils started brightly and had the first real chance of the match when Jack Barmby struck the cross bar after a bursting run down the left flank in the 18th minute of the game. 

The English side kept up the pressure and it paid off 20 minutes later. Barmby was involved yet again, supplying a sublime pass for James Wilson to pop up behind the Sporting defence. Wilson made no mistake from close range and gave his side the 1-0 lead into the break.

However, the Portuguese were far from giving the match up and struck back immediately after the restart via captain Carlos Mane, who slipped his marker, latched onto a long ball from deep and slotted home under little pressure.

United had a chance to retake the lead two minutes later when they were awarded a penalty after Barmby was brought down in the box. The young attacking midfielder stepped up to take the shot but Sporting goalkeeper Mickael Meira guessed correctly and parried the well-taken spot kick away.

The momentum then favoured Sporting and they made the most of it, taking the lead in the 69th minute when substitute Edelino Ie found himself in space after another long pass found him in the box, where he made no mistake and drilled the ball into the bottom corner. 

Ie then bagged his second of the night ten minutes later after a solo run down the right went unchecked and he coolly finished past United's beleagured keeper Jonathan Sutherland.

Sporting were by no means done and continued to hunt for another goal even at the death. 

They were rewarded when United committed too many men on the attack and allowed Cristian Ponde to have a free run down the left where he struck the ball into the net to secure the comprehensive victory.

In the later kick off, hosts Singapore succumbed to a narrow 1-0 defeat against a Liverpool side which consisted the likes of Samed Yesil and Adam Morgan, players who have tasted first team football with the senior side in the Europa League.

Singapore were the better side in the opening exchanges with good movement and passing in midfield and Iqbal Hussain creating plenty of opportunities high up the pitch with his direct running.

The young side created a raft of half-chances but were unable to make the most of it and Liverpool were clearly feeling the frustration - Yesil confronted Shakir Hamzah in the 24th minute after a seemingly-innocuous challenge and had to be separated by referee Abdul Malik Bashier, who let both players off with a stern warning.

It was against the run of play when the English side took the lead in the 27th minute via Yesil's cheeky backheel after a goalmouth melee following a corner kick.

The match continued in the same vein, with Singapore's right winger Safirul Sulaiman in particular causing trouble for Liverpool, but neither side could create a meaningful chance on goal and the Reds ran out 1-0 winners against the hosts.

Singapore will face Manchester United in Sunday's third place match at 4:45pm while Sporting Lisbon will take on Liverpool in the NexLions Cup final later at 7:15pm. Both matches will be held at Jalan Besar Stadium.

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