MAN CITY 1, BARCELONA 2
As Manchester City tonight played host to Barcelona in their first game in the NextGen Series, who knows what future stars were on view.
May be there was a future Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas or Gerard Pique, all renowned graduates of the famed Barcelona Academy, on view.
The under-19s tournament, loosely based on a Champions League format, is aimed at showcasing future talent with City grouped with Barcelona, Celtic and Olympique Marseille.
The match, played at non-league Hyde United in front of a 2,067 crowd, was a clash of two contrasting footballing styles and cultures.
Barcelona’s players were technically gifted and played at a pedestrian pace compared with the hustle and bustle and frenetic English game.
The Spaniards triumphed thanks to a brace of goals from 17-year-old striker David Babunski, a deflected drive and spectacular long-range effort.
City, however, gave a creditable display with their own Spanish starlets Joan Angel Romas and Dennis Suarez sparkling.
Harry Bunn, the teenage son of former Oldham Athletic striker Frank, scored for City with a delightful curled shot which would have graced any stage. It will be impressive to include a goal against the Catalans on his cv.
Barcelona at times struggled to come to terms with the raw pace of City winger Alex Henshall, the youngster bought from Shrewsbury Town. He made some electrifying runs and struck the frame of the goal in the early stages.