Futsal and football came together in perfect harmony at Platt Lane on Monday night as a mixture of Manchester's first team and development squads took on a Manchester City side who are high flying in the U18 Premier League.
The score finished 6-5 to Manchester City, but the score was irrelevant, it was a celebration and a fantastic step in the right direction for player development in the UK, with both sides playing some fantastic stuff during the 40 minutes of play.
A hat-trick from Manchester City's Iker Pozo helped the hosts defeat Manchester Futsal Club by the narrowest of margins in what really was a high competitive, end-to-end game.
Two goals from Manchester Futsal's Giles Collier and additions to the scoresheet from Elliot Fenton, Ryan Williams & Ben Seoul helped run City very close in what was a very good performance from the Blues.
Manchester Futsal's first team coach, Sergi Saldana was happy with what he saw throughout the game from all of the players but still felt there was room for improvement.
"There was only Edgy and Giles playing from the first team tonight but despite this we remained competitive for the entire match. Also we played with too much respect for the Manchester City players, but with more confidence in them, they will improve on this."
Development Head Coach Russell Fryer feels that opportunities like this for his players will only do wonders for their development going forward.
"I thought it was wasn't a futsal game for the purist, but as an exercise and as a spectacle it was great, for the development lad's point of view the experience was fantastic for them. Playing against top academy players and alongside first team players for us are opportunities that they deserve."
It took a while for the hosts to get into their rhythm as Manchester Futsal used the possession to their advantage and Ben Seoul gave Manchester Futsal Club the lead early on with a stroke of fortune as his shot was deflected and ended up through the keeper's legs for 1-0.
Manchester City were soon level as Nabil Touaizi showed good close control to lay off the Spaniard Iker Pozo for 1-1.
Pozo was causing all sorts of problems and scored again straight after a Manchester Futsal timeout, working the ball out wide and his shot finds it way through Zak Austin's legs to give the hosts the lead.
Giles Collier and Jordan Edge's experience really shown as they both grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and created some great chances for the Blues but failed to capitalise on the chances they had just before half time.
The second half began and Manchester City came out at 100mph and scored 30 seconds from kick off through Jeremie Frimpong to make it 3-1.
Then a moment of brilliance from development team player Elliot Fenton who goes past three players and chips a delightful effort over the goalkeeper to get Manchester Futsal Club back into the game. Most certainly it was the goal of the evening.
City did not lie down as there was really good passing and movement from the Citizens as Ian Carlo Poveda finished well with some great link up from Iker Pozo.
Two minutes after Fenton's magic, Manchester Futsal found themselves level with two quick fire goals from Giles Collier and the momentum was with the Blues going into the last ten minutes of the game.
The goals kept on coming as both sides got on the scoresheet once again in the 33rd minute, a cross from the right from Colin Rosler was finished well by Alpha Diounkou for City, and Ryan Williams for Manchester Futsal managed to pounce on a rebounded Jordan Edge shot which was well saved by City keeper Louie Moulden.
It was all level at 5-5 but two minutes from time, Felix Nimecita fires from the right hand side to find Ian Carlo Poveda to give Manchester City the win late on.
[credit to Marc Taylor]