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Manchester United taste victory against Barcelona at the FedEx Field in America, winning 2-1…

Match Report – Manchester United 2-1 FC Barcelona

Competition: Herbalife World Football Challenge (Friendly)
Kick-Off & Date: 7pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011
Venue: FedEx Field, Maryland, US (Neutral)
Attendance: 81,807

Manchester United ended the 2011 pre-season tour of The United States with a hard-earned, 2-1 victory over FC Barcelona. The Red Devil’s European rivals got a taste of their own medicine, as Luis Nani and Michael Owen were clinical on front of goal in either half. However, the Premier League Champions were made work for the Herbalife World Football Challenge win, as Spain’s top club briefly tied the game through Thiago Alcantara…

Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea started in goal for United, who saw Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans coupled with Rafael Da Silva and Patrice Evra in defence. Luis Nani and Ashley Young were wide of Tom Cleverley and Oliveira Anderson in midfield, as Wayne Rooney was paired with Danny Welbeck on front of goal. Sir Alex rested a number of key players, looking ahead to two Testimonial fixtures and a visit to Wembley all within the next 8 days.

Barcelona were without some big names, but the absence of some of their stars was balanced through talented youngsters. United looked the more dangerous in attack, but it was always going to be the case that Josep Guardiola’s men endured more possesion. After a good chance was hit wide by Rooney, Barca regained control. But for all their passing, Nani (onside) made a darting run via Welbeck’s pass and capitalised through Victor Valdes’ legs.
Luis Nani slots United into the lead with 22 minutes gone, onside from Danny Welbeck’s through ball

Nani calmly stroked the ball into the net, as the 80,000 plus soccer fans applauded the Portuguese winger’s opening goal of the game, with 22 minutes on the clock. The crowd was a phenomenal tally for the sport in America, with little or no interest from major press corporations within The USA. Washington DC and it’s surrounding states begged to differ, with the support split 50-50, although the majority of the FedEx Field was covered in a sea of Red.

Rafael had to be replaced by his twin brother Fabio, after the Brazilian hurt himself in the opening stages. United were dominant passing the half-hour mark, but admittedly Barcelona boasted the lions share of possesion. Without the likes of Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Dani Alves, Adriano Correia, Javier Mascherano and Gabriel Milito to choose from, there was less creativity to be seen. Although United were no where near full-strength either.
Europe’s – if not the world’s – two finest football clubs went into the dressing rooms at half-time with United leading by one goal to nil. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant entertained the crowd during the interval, before the teams re-entered. Pedro Rodriguez had The Catalans’ best chance, but David De Gea saved with ease. Nani also created an effort or two, but it wasn’t until the 70th minute that the fans saw another goal… This time in Barca’s favour.
David De Gea looks on after Barcelona equalise through Thiago Alcantara with 20 minutes to go…

Thiago Alcantara rifled an absolute stunner into United’s top right hand corner, with De Gea left helpless in goals. There was nothing the goalkeeper, any goalkeeper, could have done to prevent the goal but for the first time in the match questions were asked of United’s defence. The Reds were loose in midfield, but young Cleverley was working very well in the centre. Chris Smalling, Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen had provided second half freshness.

Gabriel Obertan also arrived on the scene in the second half, but Pep’s team were looking the sharper. That was until 6 minutes after Barcelona’s equaliser, as United pulled ahead once more. This time Cleverley played Owen one-on-one with only the keeper to beat, and he did just that. The former Real Madrid striker chipped the ball over the line to hand The Red Devils a deserved 2-1 lead. Phil Jones and Mame Diouf then quickened United’s game.

The end result: 2-1 in favour of Manchester United. This wasn’t ‘revenge’ for the Champions League Final, as pre-season counts for nothing unless the start of the competitive campaign is bettered. But on account of what The Reds have produced on tour, there is no doubt United will go into this season better, stronger and faster. A fantastic way to end the 2011 US Tour, beating Barcelona, scoring 20 goals and conceding just 3 in 5 matches.

After Edwin Van Der Sar and Paul Scholes enjoy their testimonial matches, it’s back to business with a Community Shield fixture at Wembley Stadium against geographical rivals Manchester City. Look out, here we come !
Back to haunt Barcelona: Michael Owen wins the game for United in late fashion on 76 mins !

United Team: David De Gea, Rafael Da Silva (Fabio Da Silva ’17), Nemanja Vidic (Phil Jones ’76), Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra (Chris Smalling ’46), Luis Nani, Tom Cleverley, Oliveira Anderson (Ryan Giggs ’46), Ashley Young (Gabriel Obertan ’62), Wayne Rooney (Michael Owen ’46), Danny Welbeck (Mame Diouf ’76).

Goals: Nani ’22, Owen ’76

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True Red
31/07/2011 6:33am

I have my eyes set on Tom Cleverley this season…

31/07/2011 7:10am

Tom may well turn out to be the influential midfielder that we have been looking for… Would very much hope he have a breakthru this coming season!

Andy Mara
31/07/2011 8:09am

I see an amazing partnership with Walbeck & Nani. Both have great pace & once Walbeck finds his stride with United that could be MUFC magic.

31/07/2011 8:12am

Well done boys, great tour, cherry on top win over barca was well deserved.shame the US press didn’t get more behind Manutd to sell to themselves. Repeat result requested against Man Shity!!

Fred the red
31/07/2011 9:05am

Totally agree cleverly looked at touch of class not out of place atall!

31/07/2011 9:38am

manchester united will make bid for modric in coming days…..

31/07/2011 10:04am

I always kept one eye on Tom’s development at Wigan. But I’m pretty impressed with Welbeck’s form in pre-season.
The future’s Red

31/07/2011 11:33am

Was encouraged to see that United were the better side in the first half, against a not so far from full strength Barca. 2nd half we let them play got lots of players behind the ball.
De Gea looked great making some nice stops and had good composure on the ball. Smalling looked really nice when he came on. Nani was brilliant in the 1st half. Cleverley looked assured in the middle as did Anderson. Welbeck had some nice touches too.
Sadly Obertan and Diouf looked way out of their depth when they did come on and I dont see much of a role for them other than in the League Cup.
All in all, nice to beat the European Champions, a good run out and fitness builder, 100% record on tour this year knocking in 20 goals. Come on United!

31/07/2011 1:59pm

Good afternoon all true REDS. Great match last night.

31/07/2011 2:02pm

Agree with Ben except Obertan , he looks in good form in my opinion. He is much stronger and quicker than he was. He made a good run and setup Owen late in the game.

Also, thiago alcantara – he looks so lively today. He’s good with the ball, hard working, good passing range and can shoot from range. If we can’t pay the heavy wages of Sneijder then why not go for him? Think he’ll be cheaper.


Bobby charming
31/07/2011 3:09pm

@ true red agreed!

31/07/2011 6:52pm

Onion was good.

31/07/2011 7:15pm

Tom c will be a good first 11 he looks like a legend in the makeing

31/07/2011 7:45pm

Shame we coulden’t do it when it matterd

31/07/2011 8:43pm

I think that Clverley could be a good replacement for Scholsey if he keeps up this form

hugh williams link
31/07/2011 10:11pm

great goal from nani

31/07/2011 10:35pm

NO, I don’t think Cleverley is tricky enough in the midfield to hold the ball if he is under pressure. Nani can do that easily and you saw that in the match. And that very important for the build-up. But if Cleverley improves in those areas he will become a great player.

01/08/2011 4:25am

cleverley and anderson combination is deadly and effective

fc b is not strong without xavi nad messi

01/08/2011 5:59am

Cleverly may be good, but i think he lack the special element. He’s not even in the same class as Anderson and Carrick, and I doubt he can hold the United’s midfield. In my opinion, like Gibson, its a matter of time he get released and make his name in other smaller EPL clubs.

If we cannot get any purchase, then hope SAF will stick to Ando — Carrick — Fletcher, and give Pogba and Morrison a running.

Just my opinion =)

03/08/2011 9:04am

Tat is the start towards the end of barca.man utd do it again


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