Sir Alex's young guns lose shoot-out

Manchester United 0 - Bayern Munich 0 Bayern win 4-2 on pens
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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson looked to the future by ushering half-a-dozen youngsters on to a big stage - a crowd of 58,121 was in attendance - and using Roy Keane at the back in a 3-5-2 formation in last night's draw against a considerably stronger Bayern Munich side, who then won on penalties.

Sir Alex Ferguson looked to the future by ushering half-a-dozen youngsters on to a big stage - a crowd of 58,121 was in attendance - and using Roy Keane at the back in a 3-5-2 formation in last night's draw against a considerably stronger Bayern Munich side, who then won on penalties.

Keane looked assured in a position he may come to occupy more and more in his final years at the club. He was the only "name" player in the starting XI at Soldier Field apart from Alan Smith, playing his first game since leaving Leeds United. Smith, at home in the all-white strip United used, had a quiet match, though he was not alone. The afternoon was not quite as fiercely hot as Seattle for Chelsea's Saturday game, but this one was played at a much more leisurely pace, with few incidents to detain the American statisticians until the shoot-out.

By half-time there had been only one effort on target, which Bojan Djordic hit at Oliver Kahn in the Bayern goal. The goalkeeper had little else to do later except hold on to a header by Paul McShane, a young Irishman playing alongside his countryman Keane at the back. In the absence of a crop of attacking players - Ruud van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Forlan and Paul Scholes among them - Smith and David Bellion played the whole game, without troubling Kahn. But to Ferguson's satisfaction, the defence stood up well, and Keane's performance will have convinced both men of the validity of playing him there when required.

Otherwise, there were few lessons to be learnt for two teams still at an early stage of their training and the disappointed crowd offered boos at the end of 90 minutes. They revived for the shoot-out, in which Bellion and Keane succeeded but Smith and John O'Shea had their kicks saved. Characteristically, the Germans converted four out of four.

United fielded an American, but it was Jonathan Spector, a former member of the Chicago Sockers, who was greeted with a welcoming wall of sound on his old home patch, rather than Tim Howard. Other teenagers in the starting XI were Phil Bardsley and Kieran Richardson at wing-back, and David Jones came into midfield as one of only three United substitutes with O'Shea and Luke Chadwick.

This was Bayern's only game in the United States before returning home to prepare for a season in which they have much to make up for after losing their Bundesliga title to Werder Bremen and going out of the Champions' League early to Real Madrid. That led them to dispense with the services of Ottmar Hitzfeld and bring in the former German international Felix Magath a year earlier than intended from Stuttgart.

In contrast to United, the Germans fielded a first-choice selection for the first half, including Owen Hargreaves as the holding midfield player, before making seven substitutions at the interval. A corner headed over the bar by Sammy Kuffour was their only threat for an hour, until Torsten Frings brought a good save from Roy Carroll.

The spectators causing most interest were the two sons of Malcolm Glazer, the Tampa businessman who has been steadily accumulating United shares over the years while denying any intention of attempting a formal takeover. Supporters who had unfurled a banner reading "MU not for sale" at training the previous day were warned it would be confiscated if produced yesterday; they decided to wait for another day, possibly against Celtic in Philadelphia on Wednesday or in New Jersey for the final tour game against Milan next weekend.

Bayern Munich (4-5-1): Kahn; Gorlitz, Kuffour, Linke (Santa Cruz), Rau (Trochowski); Salihamidzic (Scholl), Deisler (Kovac), Hargreaves (Frings), Ballack, Ze Roberto (Demichelis); Makaay (Hashemian). (All subs h-t)

Manchester Utd (3-5-2): Carroll; McShane, Keane, Spector; Bardsley, Eagles (O'Shea 68), Djemba-Djemba, Djordic (Jones 68), Richardson (Chadwick 80); Bellion, Smith. (No h-t subs)

Referee: T Vaughn (US).

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