Manchester United under-18s side have been eliminated from the 2022/23 FA Youth Cup by Stoke City.
A deflected free-kick gave Stoke a 1-0 victory in a tight encounter at the Bet365 Stadium.
United were the defending champions after winning the competition in 2021/22, with Alejandro Garnacho scoring seven goals in the process.
After a 3-1 win away at Crystal Palace in the last round, United didn’t quite have enough to get past Stoke, in this first game for the under-18s in 2023.
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United narrowly beaten
Young goalkeeper Elyh Harrison had a good game at the back, looking confident and handling the ball well, but could do absolutely nothing about Stoke’s goal to break the deadlock in the second half.
A Stoke free-kick took a wicked deflection of the United wall and left the goalkeeper wrong-footed, ricocheting into the net.
Victor Musa saw a header saved after 37 minutes and saw a shot cleared off the line in first half stoppage time after good work from Ethan Williams.
In midfield the pairing of Maxi Oyedele and Dan Gore played especially well and drove United forward in search of an equaliser, with the latter seeing a late shot slide narrowly wide.
Williams, Musa and Oyedele all also came close with efforts, while Jack Kingdon blazed a late shot over from the edge of the box. It wasn’t United’s night, and Stoke were able to hold on for the win.
United were without injured playmaker Sam Mather, who scored in the previous round, while Kobbie Mainoo, who is eligible, is now with the first team.
Winning the title back to back was always a tall order, especially with the side changing from year to year. United have won the trophy 11 times, more than any other club.
Starting XI: Harrison; Murray, Jackson, Aljofree, Nolan; Gore (c), Oyedele, Moorhouse; Musa, Williams, Norkett
Subs: Wooster, Kingdon, Berry, Lacey, Scanlon, Munro