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United vow to punish 'disgraceful' Youth Cup fans

ESPN staff
March 14, 2011 « Anthony Johnson should move to middleweight - Hardy | ESPN FA Cup Promo »
Liverpool fans were subjected to extreme abuse from their Manchester United counterparts at Anfield © Getty Images
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Manchester United officials have promised to "deal harshly" with any fans identified in Sunday's shameful scenes during their Youth Cup trip to Liverpool.

United won the game 3-2, coming back from a two-goal deficit, but the thrilling nature of the match was completely overshadowed by disgraceful on-field and off-field behaviour, with four players sent off, three fans arrested and six ejected.

Anfield played host to over 10,000 supporters as the two rivals went head-to-head at youth level, but a section of the United support was clearly heard singing songs about the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies.

"I have never seen anything like it before at a youth game and I never want to see anything like it again," commented John Aldridge, who was heavily affected by the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. "It was disgusting.

"You get used to banter from United fans when they come to Anfield but to hear those songs about Heysel and Hillsborough was just horrible," he continued in the Daily Mail. "The level of abuse was absolutely sickening. There was evidently a group who had just come to cause problems and I felt sorry for the families in the Manchester United end who just wanted to watch a game of football."

United have responded by stating: "Singing songs about the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies is disgraceful. We will deal harshly with anyone brought to our attention."

The bad feeling in the stands eventually transferred to the pitch, with Conor Coady and Tyler Beckett dismissed for a late coming together of heads that left the Liverpool man bloodied.

Liverpool had taken a two-goal lead thanks to an Adam Morgan brace, but the game changed on a second-half penalty decision, which saw defender Stephen Sama sent off for a professional foul. United youngster Paul Pogba then followed when, after being booked for an unsporting run-up to the penalty, he continued to argue with the referee for a second caution.

Larnel Cole eventually despatched the retaken spot-kick, Ravel Morrison then equalised before adding the winner with a fine late volley.

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