In preparation of tonight's much anticipated Champions League clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester United, their under-19s went head to head in the UEFA Youth League.
In a role reversal from the actual Champions League standings, it's Shakhtar and Real Sociedad who hold qualification spots, while Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen fill the bottom two places.
United could have changed that with a win over Leverkusen but there day couldn't have gotten off to a worse start.
Highly-rated Leverkusen striker Marc Brasnic opened the scoring just shy of the 20 minute mark, it was his 7th goal of the season and has now netted in his past 3 games.
It only got worse for Manchester United when Liam Grimshaw saw red, less than 10 minute after the first Bayer goal. The German side took the ascendancy and quickly made the most of their extra-man advantage going 2-0 up through a Timo Barendt goal.
At half-time you could forgive United for being a little despondent, but were given a lifeline soon after half time as Leverkusen goalkeeper Oliver Schnitzler was sent off and gave away a penalty in the process. England under-19 forward James Wilson took advantage of the situation, scoring his 5th goal in 8 games for both club and country.
The game, however, didn't swing the favour of Manchester United and Latvian forward Andrejs Cigaņiks condemned Manchester United to defeat by scoring the 3rd goal deep into injury-time. Unfortunately for Manchester United, the game didn't quite end there as James Weir became the second United player on the day to be sent for an early bath.
Manchester United's youth side still sit outside the qualification places in the UEFA Youth League and not qualifying with the quality they have at hand would be disastrous, luckily for United fans the first team don't seem to be struggling quite as much.
image: © Gordon Flood