Lee Martin netted a first-half winner for Manchester United as the Premier League champions' young stars overcame Orlando Pirates to seal a 1-0 win here on Tuesday.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson took his big guns out of the firing line for this clash after seeing the likes of Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes subjected to a series of bruising challenges in Saturday's draw against Kaizer Chiefs.
But his latest crop of youngsters grabbed their chance to shine against an unconvincing Pirates outfit and Martin, Fraizer Campbell and Chris Eagles all gave glimpses of their potential.
Eagles, who scored against the Chiefs in Cape Town, almost teed up Carlos Tevez for an opener on seven minutes with a neat pass that saw the Argentinian test keeper Senzo Meyiwa.
And Martin also forced Meyiwa into action with a low shot after being released following a one-two between Tevez and Michael Carrick.
Martin, loaned out to Sheffield United last season, gave United the lead on 23 minutes, though, after Wes Brown, playing despite the death of his half-sister at the weekend, and Campbell had combined to tee up the midfielder.
Brown's flick-on to Campbell was headed into Martin's path in the penalty area and the youngster beat Meyiwa with a low strike into the far corner.
Campbell, who netted 15 goals in a loan spell with Premier League new-boys Hull City last term, could have doubled United's lead on 42 minutes with a right-foot strike that glanced wide from 12 yards.
United were comfortably dealing with Pirates until the 65th minute, when keeper Ben Foster produced a fingertip save to push Lebogang Mothibantwa's long-range effort over the crossbar.
The South Africans were suddenly causing United problems at the back, prompting Ferguson to call Rooney and Scholes off the bench on 69 minutes in an effort to turn the tide back in United's favour.
And the switch almost paid immediate dividends when Scholes forced keeper Senzo into another save with a long-range effort from Rooney's lay-off.
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