It was a game worthy of a final. Cortiba from Brazil against powerful Manchester United. The two best teams at Dallas Cup XXXIII deservingly facing off in the championship.
A true contrast in styles. A fascinating one at that. The big, strong English boys with the talented target forwardWilliam Keane and a wonderful defense. Cortiba with their skills on the ball and attacking prowess.
Cortiba were clearly excited to be facing such a prestigious foe and were on the front foot from the opening whistle. Manchester United were professional and workmanlike as always, but they had a bit of trouble matching the fleet-footed Brazilians early on.
Cortiba were justly rewarded with an early goal as Joao Amaral got deep into the ManU penalty area before sliding a perfect square ball for Alex Santos to squib home. After only 7 minutes the Brazilians had a lead. Manchester United came to play though and were not going to go quietly. It was obvious they had a huge size advantage and would be a handful on set pieces. They narrowly missed scoring on a freekick late in the opening half and the match went to the break 1-0 to Cortiba.
Manchester United were having a hard time getting players into the attack soon enough to support the lone striker William Keane. Larnell Cole and Jesse Lingard were frustrated by their lack of touches.
The second half saw Manchester United pushing hard for the tying goal as they narrowly missed scoring on three separate corner kicks in the first ten minutes of play. They were chasing hard, putting pressure on Cortiba everytime they gained possession, but the high pressure was to backfire on the hour mark as Michele Fornasier went in on a late tackle and received his second yellow card of the night. ManU were down to ten men. Only minutes later Cortiba had their second goal when a deft pass from Alex Santos put Jose Vivian in alone on goal where he calmly placed the ball into the back side netting.
Manchester United were in big trouble and things only got worse when Ryan Tunnicliffe was shown red for dissent soon after. Down two men and two goals things looked bleak, but their heart showed through as they fought back.
Chasing all over the field despite being two men short the Englishman were giving Cortiba all they could handle. The hard work paid off as they earned a corner which Michael Keane headed home cutting the lead to 2-1 and giving them life.
The Dallas crowd got behind them too cheering on the impressive effort. Cortiba looked to have wrapped the game up with a third goal, but ManU keeper Samuel Johnstone made a ridiculous diving save to keep the hope alive. It was not to be though as time ran out on the comeback and Cortiba celebrated.
A wonderful final where both teams played at a very high level. Cortiba continue the long tradition of Brazilian sides winning the Dallas Cup Super Group.