5 things that will please Manchester United fans from the Red Devils’ pre-season game against AC Milan
Manchester United played out a comparatively entertaining encounter with AC Milan at the StubHub Center. Mourinho started the game with Lee Grant in goal and Darmian at right back in place of injured Valencia, with Smalling, Bailly and Shaw for company in defence. Tuanzebe, Herrera and Scott McTominay started in midfield, whereas Mourinho seemed to have set Mata and Pereira on either side of Sanchez in attack.
United started the better of the two and Donnarumma saved well from McTominay early on and also did enough to keep out Sanchez’s free kick. In a refreshing change from the last game, United had 13 attempts on goal, with 10 of them on target.
It was a clever link-up between Mata and Sanchez that opened up the Milan defence and showed the Chilean's efficiency in front of goal, as he put United ahead. But Milan equalized just 4 minutes later, as Suso capitalized on some poor defending and held on to Bonucci’s long ball to put it past the onrushing Grant.
From then on, the two teams tried to get at each other without success. Herrera probably should have scored after some fine interchange between Sanchez and Shaw saw him run into acres of space. Sanchez cleverly read Mata's run and pulled the ball back at Hererra instead at the edge of the area, but the Spaniard shot straight at Donnarumma.
In the second half, Shaw came close to scoring when his long drive was saved well. United looked the better team after the break, but Milan almost won it in a rare attacking move right at the end of the game when Kalinic hit the upright.
It was time for penalties then and with the score tied 3-3 after 5 kicks for each team, the game move on to sudden death. In the end, United won 9-8 in penalties, a 14-year-old revenge served cold. Milan had defeated United 9-8 in penalties in the 2004 pre-season.
United’s first win of the pre-season, even though scrappy to say the least, should put a smile on Mourinho’s face. But United fans will be pretty ecstatic about the display, and the five things from the game which most definitely will please them the most are listed below.
#5 The goalkeeping department is in good hands
When you have the world’s best goalkeeper in your team, you have little to worry about regarding the goalkeeping department. But even ignoring the brilliance of David de Gea, United fans will love the shot stopping on display in the pre-season.
Keeping in tune with the previous 2 games, both goalkeepers were assured throughout the game. Grant could have come out a little early for the AC Milan goal, but it was such a close call that it can be ignored. Joel Pereira, after coming on for Grant, looked secure. He would ultimately turn out to be the hero in the penalties, saving 3 penalties even though he missed his own one.
Pereira, who will likely be going out on loan, certainly indicates at a bright future ahead and Grant will be the third choice behind De Gea and Romero, but you can see that they will be pushing each other on, probably bringing the best out of each other in the process.