Two of England’s most successful academy sides graced the pitch in a highly anticipated match in Coleraine. Southampton can boast former youth talent in the mould of Gareth Bale and Alan Shearer however the old Trafford outfit have also produced world class talent such as Paul Scholes and David Beckham both of whom have competed in the Supercup tournament. Fans gathered in Coleraine hoping to see the next generation of superstars.
Southampton raced out of the blocks and started the game at an electrifying pace. Sam Bailey crossed the ball into the box and it took a heavy deflection that lobbed over the keeper giving Southampton a 1-0 lead.
The saints attacked again, Jack Turner picked up the ball and went on a dangerous dribble towards the United goal. He was fouled just before he reached the 18 yard box and the referee awarded Southampton a free kick in a dangerous area. Turner blasted the free kick down the middle of the goal forcing a good save from Mastny, all one way traffic so far.
Odubeko had a great opportunity to make the score 1-1. He tried to direct his header into the bottom right corner of the goal but a Southampton defender just about put him off and the shot hit the post.
Southampton’s second goal of the match came in a period when they were dominating. Some good team play resulted in Frank Lovett being played through and a left footed finish leaving Mastny helpless and United 2-0 down. Man United had not been 2-0 down in this tournament before and a comeback against this very good Saints side would test their endurance.
HT : 2-0
Despite their troubles in the first half United started the second half with determination . They kept the ball well and Smethurst dictated the tempo of the game passing the ball well to his teammates.
United then started a quick attack, Mayamona was released down the right hand side and had a powerful shot blocked as he was crowded out by Saints defenders.
The Southampton goalkeeper Oliver Wright was forced into a quick reaction save. Anthony Elanga’s free kick curled around the wall and was heading towards the top corner, Oliver Wright scrambled across the goal and tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch. A great save.
United continued to pile on the pressure, Smethurst cut inside and picked out Teden Mengi in the centre. Mengi struck the ball first time but his powerful shot sailed wide of the net.
Southampton had to do something about United’s growing pressure, Seamus Keogh struck a thunderbolt from at least 25 yards out, United’s keeper made a world class save and The Saint’s bench were left wondering how they had not gone 3-0 up. The resulting corner was headed back into the box and a Southampton attacker volleyed it towards goal only to be saved yet again by Mastny who was now in brilliant shot stopping form.
The last few minutes of the game were managed well by Southampton who kept possession of the ball and played it safe as they confidently wound down the clock at the end of the game.
The Saints will be delighted with their first win of the campaign and the players will be happy with great individual performances. United will be disappointed that they didn’t extend their winning run to 3 matches and know they are a side who can play so much better with all the talent they have in their ranks.
FT: Southampton 2 – Man Utd 0
Credit, Elia Boutros