City EDS kick off their inaugural Premier League International Cup campaign when they host Benfica at Hyde on Friday night.
Patrick Vieira’s men will take on the cream of European youth talent at home and abroad as one of eight English sides involved in the brand new competition, which also features eight continental teams.
Drawn in Group C, City will face Schalke and Leicester City as well as the Portuguese outfit for the right to progress to the quarter finals.
Premier League Director of Youth, Ged Roddy, said: “When we launched the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2012 we recognised that providing competitive opportunities for the 18-21 age group – against English and international opposition – was a key objective in order to prepare Academy players for Barclays Premier League football.
“The Premier League International Cup will see some of the best young players in this country able to test themselves in competitive matches against some of most talented young players in Europe.”
City and Benfica met at u19 level last year, and the EDS will be out for a modicum of revenge after being knocked out of the UEFA Youth League at the quarter final stage by the Portuguese.
Seko Fofana opened the scoring on that occasion, but two second half goals from the visitors condemned City to an early exit, despite dominating the game for long periods against the Eagles.
The majority of the side that started the game in March are now EDS regulars and will be looking to prove a point while getting the International Cup campaign off to the best possible start.
City u19s have an excellent record in Europe to date this season – securing qualification for the UEFA Youth League knockout stages with a 4-2 victory over CSKA Moscow last time out.
Now, they require a point from Tuesday’s clash with Bayern Munich to clinch the group’s top spot and win a home draw in the round of 16.
The last fixture at u21 level took place at the end of October, when City were comfortable 3-1 winners over Everton.
Vieira’s men now lie second in the U21 Premier League, level on points with leaders Manchester United.
City EDS v Benfica kicks off at 7pm, Friday 21 November at Ewen Fields, Hyde (SK14 5PL). Entry is free for all seasoncard holders, with all other tickets priced at £3 for adults and £1 concessions.
We’ll have live updates over on #cityblog, plus a full match report right here on mcfc.co.uk after full time.