Man Utd 1-3 Celtic
Goalscorer(s): Laird 52′
Man Utd XI: Thompson (Carney 45′); Laird, Bernard, Mengi, Williams (Denham 60′); Traore, Levitt (Elanga 71′) Burkart, Barlow, Ramazani; Bughail-Mellor (McGhee 45′).
A tiring Man United side were punished in the second half by Celtic in the curtain raiser to SuperCupNI.
This is the second year that the Reds have played in a challenge match in Northern Ireland to open the tournament, where the club’s under-15s will compete.
An even first half saw both sides hit the woodwork. Celtic’s Robertson struck the crossbar after just two minutes as the Scottish side dominated the opening stages.
Later, Ethan Laird won United a corner with a fantastic sidefoot effort on the volley, drawing an excellent save. From the resulting set piece, Dylan Levitt looked to curl one into the top right corner, but a small deflection took it onto the bar.
Laird gave United the lead just after half-time, scoring a wonderful individual goal. Nice footwork and skills preceded a composed finish, dragged back towards the near post.
Celtic deservedly got themselves back into the game, though, capitalising on the tired legs of United, who didn’t make wholesale changes at half-time as they could have done.
Henderson set up Caffrey to draw the Bhoys level, and two minutes later, a hugely unfortunate deflection saw Henderson’s shot beat Jacob Carney in the United net.
Celtic’s pressing made a United comeback a difficult task, and the win for the Scottish side was completed with a second goal for Caffrey in the 87th minute.
With many of United’s most experienced and exciting players at this age group missing because of the first team’s pre-season tour in the USA (think Chong, Gomes, Greenwood, Garner), it’s not surprising that Celtic looked the better teams at times.
United looked too disjointed in attack in the first half, but the experience is a fantastic one, playing in front of a large crowd and on national TV. The under-15s will now look to have their own success in SuperCupNI.