Man Utd send scouts to Benfica vs Sporting clash to watch two players | Football

Joao Neves gave an excellent display in Tuesday night’s cup tie (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United sent scouts to the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday evening to watch Benfica’s massive clash against Sporting, with two players on the agenda for the Red Devils.

The two Lisbon rivals faced off in the semi-final of the Portuguese Cup, with a 2-2 draw seeing Sporting progress to the final after they had won the first leg 2-1.

Morten Hjulmand opened the scoring for the visitors shortly after half-time to prompt a flurry of goals, with Nicolas Otamendi, Paulinho and Rafa Silva all netting across 12 electric minutes.

One player stood out in particular in the match and that was 19-year-old central midfielder Joao Neves, with Portuguese newspaper Record reporting that United sent scouts to the game to watch the youngster.

The teenager is regarded as one of the best young players in Portugal and lived up to his billing with a precocious display, bringing a blend of both tenacity and poise to the Benfica midfield.

In addition to being keen to scout Neves in a high-pressured match, United also wanted to watch his team-mate, Antonio Silva.

The 20-year-old had a rather more difficult evening, shipping four goals across the two legs of the tie, and struggled somewhat to contain Sporting’s attackers.

Benfica defender Antonio Silva, who is wanted by Man Utd

Centre-back Antonio Silva is another player on United’s radar (Picture: Getty)

It is not the first time United have sent scouts to Lisbon to watch the Benfica duo, with the pair having been assessed first-hand on a number of occasions this season.

Benfica could be willing to cash in this summer but are under no pressure to sell and, in Neves’ case, will demand that his £105million release clause is paid in full.

In addition to watching the Benfica youngsters on Tuesday night, United will also have noted the performance of Sporting midfielder Hjulmand – another player who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Amid the growing links with a move for Neves, United skipper Bruno Fernandes was asked about his young compatriot last month and said: ‘It has to be the Man United coach who says whether he has a place or not.

‘He’s a great player, I don’t know if he would have a place or not. It depends on the coach and his ideas.

‘But he’s an excellent player and an excellent kid, very professional, he will have a bright future wherever he goes.

‘I would love to have him by my side. Because he has quality and will have a bright future. It depends on him. What I want most is the best for him.’

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