Manchester United and AC Milan battled it out at Cardiff in the International Champions Cup 2019 and while the match ended 2-2 at the end of regulation time, United won the game 5-4 on penalties. For the Red Devils, the goals were scored by Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. For AC Milan, the first goal was scored by Suso and the second one was a Victor Lindelof own goal.
In the first half, both United and AC Milan had their chances and the latter enjoyed more control. United, though, were looking dangerous on the counter and they scored with one such counter as Rashford saw his shot deflected into the corner. Milan though equalized after Suso found the corner with a brilliant strike from outside the box. David de Gea made a couple of great stops during the dying moments of the first half to keep it 1-1.
In the second half, Milan took the lead after a whipped cross took a deflection off Lindelof's head into the back of the net. After that, both United and Milan made a few substitutions and one such substitute, Lingard, scored with a brilliant finish. The match ended 2-2 at the end of ninety minutes and the Red Devils won 5-4 on penalties.
In this piece, we are going to take a look at the three reasons why Manchester United won against AC Milan.
#3 Manchester United's pace on the counter
If one thing has been made clear from Manchester United's pre-season games, it is that they have frightening pace in attack. With the likes of Anthony Martial, Rashford, Daniel James etc, most of the goals that United scored in the pre-season came from that difference in pace.
Today against Milan as well, the first goal was down to Rashford's exhilarating pace as he kept a long ball from Nemanja Matic in play, and made a darting run before unleashing a deflected shot into the bottom corner. In the second half, when James and Lingard came on, United's intensity suddenly increased and Lingard's goal was down to his smart run inside the box and cool finish. United's quality of turning defence into attack has been on display throughout the pre-season and if they continue doing that in the Premier League, they will be a serious threat to any defence.
#2 AC Milan didn't take their chances
In a match dominated by Milan in terms of possession and chances created, they would have been really unhappy that the match ended 2-2 at the end of regular time. In the first half, Krzysztof Piątek missed a sitter which could have given Milan the lead. Just minutes after that, Piatek couldn't finish a one on one chance against David de Gea and while it can be said the Spaniard made great saves, both of those should have been finished, really, considering the elite finisher that Piatek is.
In the second half also, Piatek missed an easy chance as he was sent through on goal by Suso with a brilliantly disguised pass but the Polish international took his shot too early and de Gea made an easy save. Piatek should've had a hat-trick but that didn't happen due to the lack of potency shown by him in front of goal. Milan should have come out as easy winners had they taken their chances.
#1 Axel Tuanzebe and the youngsters changed the game
As mentioned in the previous slide, AC Milan were dominating United in the second half but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's substitutions changed the game drastically. James, Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Lingard and especially Axel Tuanzebe changed the flow of the game. Suddenly, United were pressing better and were playing quick one-touch football.
Tuanzebe displayed his calm and composed nature at the back again and Milan's attackers found it very hard to get past him. Lingard equalized for United with a brilliant little run into the box and a great finish using his weaker foot. Gomes also looked brilliant on the ball and he was involved in almost every attacking move for United, late in the second half.
In the end, the calm nature of their penalties won United the game. Barring Lingard and Ashley Young, all the penalties were taken by less experienced players in Greenwood, Gomes, and James. All in all, almost all the United academy graduates impressed during the pre-season and many of them will surely get first-team opportunities in the upcoming season.