| KUALA LUMPUR (August 20, 2007) – It was a classic battle between Juventus, a team with the best defensive record in the tournament, against Manchester United, a side blessed with free-flowing attacking play.
In the end all it took was a moment of genius from Manchester United’s rising star Febian Brandy to clinch the inaugural Champions Youth Cup trophy at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.
Brandy, in the 50th minute, sneaked past the defence and blasted the Devils ahead.
“I’m simply delighted with the result. I was also extremely pleased with the performance of the players. They stuck to the game plan from the start and it paid off handsomely. We played a patient game and relied on counter attacks … and it worked tonight,” said Andrew Welsh.
The coach sang praises for Brandy, who has been one of the most exciting players in this tournament, scoring three goals for this team.
“With him around the others have no time to relax and he keeps the team on their toes,” said Welsh.
“It has been a fantastic tournament and we had a wonderful two and a half weeks here. The boys got to play teams from different part of the world and it was a learning experience for them. We will definitely return to defend the title next year.”
Like they had in their previous matches, United attacked from the word go and were almost rewarded as early as the 13th minute but Michael Barnes’ low drive missed its target by inches.
Juventus relied on their superior defending skills and managed to thwart all the raids that went their way.
Midway through the first half, playmaker Ayub Daud’s free kick, from the edge of the box, hit the underside of the bar and bounced back into play but it quickly cleared by the alert United defence.
In the second half, the Italians came charging back and held possession for long stretches but against the run of play United struck in the 50th minute
With time rapidly running out, Juventus piled on the pressure but were unable to break through and had to settle for the second spot.
In the third-fourth placing playoff match which was played out earlier, Flamengo came alive after the break to score a convincing 3-1 win over AC Milan.
The Brazilians went ahead in the 14th minute through Vander Viera but AC Milan levelled terms in the 29th minute through star striker Pierre Aubameyang, who netted his seventh goal of the tournament.
Flamengo stepped up the pace in the last 15 minutes of the second half to claim two goals and seal the victory over Milan.
Just past the hour mark, Diego Silva turned in superb free kick from Kayke Rodrigues. And with four minutes on the clock, Rodrigues brought the curtains down for the Brazilians in style with a sensational free kick that curled into the far corner beyond the reach of AC Milan keeper Daniel Offredi.
Flamingo coach Rivelino Espinosa said their semi final match against Manchester United did not reflect the team’s true calibre.
“We wanted to prove our defeat to Manchester United in the semi final was just a bad day. It was not hard to motivate the boys after that defeat. Although we played Milan in the group stages, today’s game was quite different as it was a knock-out format. I’m delighted the boys rose to the occasion to finish third and hope we are invited back again next year to try and win the title.”