Red Devils (3) @ Merseyside (1)

Manchester United ended the tour of the States on a high by beating rivals Liverpool to win the International Champions Cup in sultry Miami.

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Louis van Gaal’s men overturned an early Steven Gerrard penalty – the third spot-kick United have conceded on tour – to claim victory through second-half goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

Brendan Rodgers’ side, at the end of their own tour of the States, provided easily the biggest test of United’s pre-season so far as the two rivals from England’s north-west tried to outdo each other 4,000 miles from home.

United were perhaps not quite as sharp as in the previous tour games, not quite as commanding in defence, but found a way to win and head back to Manchester with five wins from five under van Gaal – and a first trophy under the Dutchman.

The 51,000 fans inside the Sun Life Stadium were treated to fireworks before kick-off and, while the game itself didn’t quite provide any, there was a competitive edge and feistiness and not normally seen at this time of year.

Javier Hernandez, starting in place of the injured Danny Welbeck, spurned an excellent chance to give United an early lead when he couldn’t convert Ashley Young’s whipped-in cross from close range.

Antonio Valencia then ended his birthday on a sour note, trudging off the field with an apparent injury. Luke Shaw replaced him, with Young moving over to the right wing.

Liverpool fired a warning shot moments later when Jordan Henderson headed over after Hernandez had failed to clear Gerrard’s free-kick.

But the Merseysiders were given the opportunity to take the lead in the 14th minute as Phil Jones was adjudged to have tripped Raheem Sterling in the box, though the defender was aghast at the decision.

Up stepped Gerrard to send David De Gea the wrong way from the spot as United fell behind for the first time under van Gaal.

From then onwards, Liverpool were content to sit back and soak up United’s attacks. Mata had a left-foot shot blocked but that was about as close as the Reds came for the rest of the first half.

At the other end, De Gea made an excellent low save from a powerful Phillipe Coutinho drive, before Sterling, Liverpool’s most dangerous player, had a penalty appeal turned down, with replays suggested he may have been upended by Ander Herrera.

Van Gaal made two changes at the break, bringing on Tyler Blackett for Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley for Darren Fletcher.

Rickie Lambert missed a good chance to extend Liverpool’s lead when he shot tamely at De Gea in the box after receiving the ball from Gerrard, who had intercepted a Herrera pass.

Soon after, Coutinho played a superb through-ball to Sterling, whose shot deflected inches wide with De Gea stranded.

Liverpool were on top but, in the space of two minutes, United turned the game on its head. First captain Rooney, who had been relatively quiet in the first half, equalised when he met Hernandez’s arrowing cross with a neat left-foot volley across Simon Mignolet.

And Mata put the Reds ahead two minutes later when his shot deflected off Mamadou Sakho to wrong-foot Mignolet.

Just after the hour mark, there was an unusual moment of controversy when Young swung a high ball over from the left, which apparently bounced off the crossbar into the path of Rooney, who had the simplest task to tap home.

Referee Mark Geiger awarded the goal but Liverpool protested that the ball had actually bounced off the goal stanchion, which replays proved, and the decision was overturned.

Van Gaal continued to ring the changes, bringing on Nani, Shinji Kagawa and Lingard for Hernandez, Mata and Herrera.

Chris Smalling made a last-ditch clearance to deny Martin Kelly, before Lingard made the game safe when he controlled Young’s cross and fired a low half-volley from the edge of the box beyond Mignolet.

You shall always walk alone!:P

GGMU

Cheers

SS

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Red Devils (5) @ La Beneamata (3)

Manchester United’s successful Tour 2014, presented by Aon, continued with a penalty shoot-out victory after Louis van Gaal’s men were held to a goalless draw by Inter Milan.

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Ashley Young, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher all converted from the spot to complete a full set of kicks for the Reds – playing in the new blue third kit for the first time – while Marco Andreolli’s miss for Inter proved pivotal at the FedEx Field, home of NFL legends Washington Redskins.

Van Gaal started with his three senior centre-backs all on the pitch, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones switching to the middle and right respectively, while Jonny Evans retained the left-sided role in which he began the tour against LA Galaxy. Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia took up the wing-back positions, with Ander Herrera and again-captain Darren Fletcher allowing Juan Mata to support Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

The man who Evans, Jones and Smalling are all striving to replace, Inter’s new no.15 Nemanja Vidic, provided the biggest threat to United’s goal in the early exchanges, albeit not a significant one with both of his headers from corners comfortably clearing Anders Lindegaard’s crossbar. Jones fared better at the other end when his connection with a Mata set-piece forced a save from Samir Handanovic diving low to his left.

Wayne Rooney tried to reprise the goal which unlocked another Italian defence, Roma’s, when he opened up onto his right foot and sent a shot dipping just over the frame but then the game descended into something of a lull, with both sides going through typical pre-season motions.

The crowd were stirred a little when Valencia tracked back in the right wing-back role, all the way to the corner flag, where he dispossessed Dodo in robust but fair fashion. The opponent gesticulated in vain for a foul while the fans closest to the action jeered, whistled and briefly chorused “United, United” in response.

Mata began to impose himself on the proceedings as the half wore down, firstly interchanging well with Rooney and just missing out on the final return ball when an Inter defender intervened. Then the livewire Spaniard created his own space and raked a shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post, close enough to spur Handanovic into an insurance dive. At the other end, Jones flung himself in front of a snapshot from Mauro Icardi to preserve Lindegaard’s majority status as a spectator.

Van Gaal made the now-routine eight changes at the interval, most notably giving Wilfried Zaha his first run-out of the tour and bringing on Luke Shaw for a work-out at wing-back, after discussing his lack of fitness 24 hours previously. The others to come on were David De Gea in goal, Michael Keane, Tyler Blackett, Tom Cleverley, Nani and, in the Mata role, Shinji Kagawa. Only Evans, Fletcher and Young remained on the pitch in pursuit of a full 90 minutes.

Evans and Fletcher combined well on the left as United took the game to Inter in the second period but, with Vidic marshalling the Inter defence and reading the Reds’ ploys like a professor, Zaha in particular cut a frustrated figure. In one moment, the former Old Trafford stalwart watched as two of his team-mates threatened to be left behind by Zaha’s turn of pace and then stepped in with perfect timing to sweep the ball behind for a corner.

Vidic deserved the applause he received around the arena as he departed the field in the 72nd minute with Inter’s clean sheet intact, although there was a close shave when Tom Cleverley drilled a rising shot into the pack of mostly red shirts amassed behind the goal.

With the Serbian off, United sensed an opportunity and Nani was denied by Handanovic’s fine save, with Kagawa’s effort on the rebound blocked. Zaha appealed for a penalty moments later but, even though thousands of fans agreed with him, the referee Edvin Jurisevic took a different view and the deadlock remained. It was a similar story when Cleverley went down with the official stubbornly standing his ground.

The biggest cheer of the night so far came when Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, seemingly popular throughout the United States, entered the fray for the final quarter of an hour. Nani, a half-time substitute, was substituted.

De Gea, like Lindegaard, had little to do in his 45 minutes on the field, although he did provide one reminder of his athleticism when he thrust out his right hand to turn an Inter free-kick over the bar. Jurisevic was by now becoming the central character but the referee endeared himself to the United fans, having largely annoyed them, when he showed the first yellow card of the game to Marco Andreolli.

There was more angst for the dynamic Zaha when he flashed a shot into the side-netting in the final minute of normal time and so off to penalty kicks we went, with Inter already victorious by this method in their ICC opener against Real Madrid. This time the Italians would not prosper and United remained on course to reach the final in Miami after winning the shoot-out 5-3, much to the delight of the majority in the crowd of 61,238.

GGMU

Manchester is RED!

Love

S

The Canaries (0) @ The Red Devils (4)

Manchester United got Ryan Giggs’ tenure as interim manager off to the perfect start with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford.

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A pair of Wayne Rooney goals, the first from the penalty spot, in the minutes immediately before and after half-time set the Reds on their way and another double, from substitute Juan Mata, ensured that the Giggs era began with the victory craved by a packed Old Trafford.

The new boss received a rapturous reception from the supporters more used to seeing him out on the pitch than in the dugout, but a determined Norwich side ensured that his side did not have it all their own way until Rooney broke the deadlock.

Danny Welbeck, partnering Rooney in a 4-4-2 formation, had United’s best chance when his powerful shot from a tight angle forced Canaries’ keeper John Ruddy into a vital save at his near post. But when Welbeck was dragged down in the area by Steven Whittaker, Rooney sent Ruddy the wrong way from 12 yards to open the floodgates.

Rooney doubled the lead just after half-time when he curled the ball in off Ruddy’s left-hand post from outside the area, having been allowed licence to cut across the Norwich defence from the left flank. Welbeck had forced Ruddy into action with a fierce volley and Nemanja Vidic had headed over when Mata put the game out of reach, converting Phil Jones’ cross with a snap-shot from close range.

United’s dominance was confirmed when Mata stooped to nod in a deflected Antonio Valencia effort from inside the six yard box, Rooney was not far from a hat-trick when he looped the ball onto the roof of the net and Javier Hernandez missed a great chance for 5-0 in the closing seconds.

IN GIGGSY WE TRUST!

GGMU

SS

Posted from my MacBook Pro

Red Devils (4) at The Magpies (0)

Manchester United go into Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final return with Bayern Munich in great heart after goals from Juan Mata, Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj set up a splendid 4-0 success at Newcastle. 

David Moyes’ much-changed side coped admirably with the absence of big names David De Gea, Rafael, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck to avenge December’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

Mata’s first strike was a devilish free-kick and the second the cheekiest of finishes after good work from Shinji Kagawa and Hernandez. The excellent Kagawa set up Chicharito, who hit a post in the first half, for a predatory prod past Rob Elliot to prompt some disgruntled home fans to leave the ground with 20 minutes still remaining.

Anders Linedgaard made three wonderful saves to deny Papiss Cisse – the final stop truly astounding when a goal seemed certain – to keep a clean sheet that he will cherish on a rare start. Januzaj also sparkled after coming on for Ashley Young, who was taken to hospital with a thumb injury, and added a fourth in stoppage time following a delightful one-two with Mata, setting United up nicely for the midweek mission in Munich.

GGMU!

Bring it on Bayern!

SS

Posted from my MacBook Pro

Stern des Südens (1) at The Red Devils (1)

Manchester United will travel to Germany with plenty of hope of reaching the Champions League semi-finals after a spirited 1-1 draw with holders Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.

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Nemanja Vidic broke the deadlock to set the stadium alight before Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, hit a superbly-taken leveller to reward the Germans for an authoritative display.

Danny Welbeck lashed the ball into the net from the Reds’ first attack, though his effort was ruled out, apparently for a high boot from the striker. Although Bayern dominated possession, David De Gea’s first save did not come until past the half-hour mark when he dived to claw away an Arjen Robben effort.

David Moyes’ men responded with Welbeck firing an ambitious shot at Manuel Neuer and Wayne Rooney having an effort blocked. After Alex Büttner escaped a handball shout, Welbeck spurned the first half’s clearest opening in a one-on-one with Neuer. A goal did arrive 13 minutes after the break. Rooney swung over a corner from the left and Vidic steered a cute header inside Neuer’s left-hand post after being afforded too much room in the crowded box.

The equaliser was largely unstoppable as Mario Mandzukic headed down to Schweinsteiger, who smacked a rising drive into the roof of the net. After Valencia had a nervous wait to see if a sliding challenge would produce a second yellow, Robben twice went close and Schweinsteiger saw red for a tackle on Rooney. In the end, it wasn’t pretty, but United matched the favourites for the competition with a whole-hearted performance.

We gonna kill it at the Allianz!

Glory MUFC

SS

~Posted from my MacBook Air

The Villans (1) at The Red Devils (4)

Manchester United roared back from conceding first to Aston Villa thanks to a brace by Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata’s first goal for the club since his record move from Chelsea and Javier Hernandez’s late effort.

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David Moyes’ men made a disappointing start and fell behind when David De Gea was unable to keep out Ashley Westwood’s powerful free-kick on 13 minutes. Yet Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa switched positions regularly to good effect and both were involved in the move that led to the equaliser as Rooney expertly headed past Brad Guzan.

Rooney was on the scoresheet again with an emphatically-taken penalty just before the interval, after Leandro Bacuna chopped down Mata as he dragged the ball back inside the area. Christian Benteke missed a sitter when miskicking and allowing substitute Michael Carrick, on at centre-back, to clear. The muscular striker also headed over a Marc Albrighton cross moments later.

However, Alex Büttner’s brave header led to Marouane Fellaini supplying a touch inside the area and the ball broke to Mata, who calmly found the net in front of the Stretford End for United’s third. Guzan thwarted substitute Adnan Januzaj and Rooney, with Benteke and Aleksandar Tonev unable to convert openings for the Midlanders.

With time running out, the lively Januzaj crossed for fellow sub Hernandez to poke home a fourth as the Reds warmed up nicely for Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

GGMU

SS

Posted from my MacBook Pro

West Ham 0:2 Manchester United (Barclays Premier League)

Wayne Rooney scored twice in the first half to help Manchester United to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham.

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The first was a spectacular long-range effort that evoked memories of David Beckham’s goal at Selhurst Park in 1996, and gave the Reds breathing space with only eight minutes on the clock. In fact David Moyes’ side had already looked comfortable before Rooney’s opener, despite several changes from the line-up that performed so well against Olympiacos in midweek.

Injuries, suspensions and possibly thoughts of next Tuesday’s Manchester derby led to a reshuffle that included Michael Carrick and Phil Jones playing together in central defence. Marouane Fellaini’s early header was cleared away from two yards out by Carroll, while Juan Mata forced Adrian into a save before Rooney’s spectacular effort. Collecting a pass from Ashley Young just inside the opposition half, the striker looked up quickly and caught the home goalkeeper off his line with a looping effort that dipped into the net to stun all those inside the Boleyn Ground – which included Beckham himself.

Mata and Shinji Kagawa both had efforts saved before United struck again with a characteristically potent counter-attack. The hosts were still claiming a penalty for Darren Fletcher’s challenge on Kevin Nolan when Rooney fed Ashley Young, who raced upfield before crossing. Mark Noble’s fluffed clearance went straight to Rooney, who will never score a simpler close-range goal.

The home side gave a spirited response after the break, but United kept their opponents at arm’s length and even though Fellaini had a late penalty claim ignored, the Reds comfortably brought the curtain came down on a clinical away win.

GGMU

Cheers

SS

Posted from my MacBook Pro