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Man United Under-23s lose to Man City: how did top youth stars fare?

Man United struggled once Regan Poole was sent off but several youth stars acquitted themselves well.

It was a bad night for Manchester United's Under-23 side, led by Nicky Butt, as they crashed to a 3-1 defeat against local rivals Manchester City. But did any of their players come out of the game with credit?

It was always going to be a tough assignment against high-flying City when United's Regan Poole was sent off for a two-footed challenge early in the game with the score at 0-0, but they made it through to the break with the game still scoreless. The impressive Brahim Diaz gave City the lead in the second half before 10-man United equalised through Sean Goss, but City pulled clear again with goals by Isaac Buckley-Ricketts and Paolo Fernandes.

Here is a look at the United youngsters who were worth looking out for on the night, and how their nights went.

Axel Tuanzebe, DF

The captain has already been talked up by first-team manager Jose Mourinho, who has said "the potential is there, you see it immediately." The 19-year-old defender has recently been training with the first-team squad and was named in the club's 27-man Europa League squad for the competition's group stage in September. He also came on as a late substitute in Mourinho's first game in charge during last summer's preseason, a 2-0 win away against Wigan Athletic, and had been on the bench for the first team under Louis van Gaal in matches against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth last season.

The defensive leader, capped by England U-19s, showed his reading of the game early on, coming across and denying Diaz in a dangerous area, leading to the City player shooting wide. He also played a big role in keeping City in the first half despite their numerical advantage.

Tuanzebe battled on to try to keep United in the second half as City began to cut loose; he produced an impressive moment when he delivered a well-judged challenge on Buckley-Ricketts to thwart him while City led 2-1.

Sean Goss, MF/DF

Germany-born Goss was on the bench for United's first team when Van Gaal's men won 2-1 at Watford in November 2015 and is another player to recently train with the first-team squad. The 21-year-old midfielder, who can operate effectively in deep areas showing promising passing and vision, has been finding momentum again after a back injury disturbed his progress.

Goss showed his versatility against City, switching to a more defensive role after the re-organisation forced by the sending off. Although the early red card for United meant that they were on the back foot, Goss gave a glimpse of his reading of the game with a fine challenge on Diaz in a threatening area during the first half.

There were some visible moments of frustration visible, however -- he kicked the ball away and was spoken to by referee Anthony Backhouse -- but Goss was the player who drew 10-man United level with a cool strike. He did miss a great close range chance to level the scores again at 2-2 but his shot was saved by Angus Gunn at the near post.

Josh Harrop, MF

Harrop has already impressed in front of the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, having scored two stunning goals when they were watching last summer as the club's reserves defeated Salford City. The 21-year-old midfielder often makes the team tick, with well-judged running and the capacity for eye-catching moments of class.

Van Gaal appreciated what the boyhood United fan, who comes from a family of supporters of the club, had to offer when he called up the player to train with the first team ahead of a Champions League game against Wolfsburg.

The sending off meant he had less license to try to weave some magic again, and there was a blot on his copybook in the first half when he allowed Paolo Fernandes to skip beyond him too easily. But there was more to applaud in the second half when he showed some pressing from the front despite the tiring nature of this game. He was also frustrated to see a shot charged down.

Joel Pereira, GK

Goalkeeper Pereira was on the bench for United's senior team in their Europa League home win over Midtjylland last season, looking on as Marcus Rashford enjoyed a stunning debut. The Swiss-born goalkeeper showed his emotion for the club when he produced a colourful live interview after Warren Joyce's U-21s clinched the title against Tottenham Hotspur.

He has already tasted senior football having been on loan to local side Rochdale, saving a penalty on his debut, and has just returned from a loan spell at Belenenses in Portugal, with Mourinho planning to use him as the club's third-choice goalkeeper behind David De Gea and Sergio Romero.

There were two fine saves from Pereira in the first half as United managed to keep City at bay despite being a man down. First he denied Brahim, who was one-on-one after a stunning pass from Buckley-Ricketts, and then produced another important save before the break to deny Jadon Sancho.

There were some encouraging signs in the air, most notably when he rushed out of his goal to head out early in the second half. It also started the move that led to United's equaliser.

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.

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