Manchester United Vs Barcelona: Match Review
Friendlies are supposed to be well, friendlies. It is that time of the year when teams go out and check their match fitness and team chemistry ahead of the gruelling season ahead. Having won all their pre-season games (5/5) the English champions are going to kick off their season, in less than a week with a Community Shield fixture against their rivals Mancity. The pre-season has pretty much ended, and both Manutd and Barcelona would have liked to finish the last few games on a high. But in the end, Manchester United got the better of Barcelona.
Michael Owen scored what was to be the winner 14 minutes from time to give Manchester United a 2-1 victory over the Catalan giants in front of a capacity crowd (81,808) at FedEx Field. Tom Cleverley created the goal, after intercepting Sergio Busquets’ pass in the midfield, moving forward towards the goal, and finally playing the striker in, just in time to keep him onside. Owen, on his part made no mistake, as he collected the ball and chipped it over Valdes’ left hand into the goal.
Earlier, Luis Nani had put Manchester United ahead in the 22nd minute in typical Manchester United counter-attacking style. Barcelona’s attempt from a corner was cleared, and Danny Welbeck, the latest in the line of English stars, collected the ball in the midfield, moved forward and released Nani, who ran around the defenders from the left side of the field, and finished low.
It was cancelled by Thiago Alcantara’s screamer from 20 yards out in the 70th minute. Carlos Carmona, after some brilliant play from Barcelona, slipped past Ryan Giggs and passed the ball to Thiago, who looked up and took a shot from 20 yards out, which went into the top of the net.
It was not much of a revenge for the Champions League finals, nor was it such a high intensity match, as it was hyped to be before the kick-off. It was a match played between two teams which had immense respect towards each other. Manchester United started with a 4-4-2, with Welbeck and Rooney as strike force, and Vidic and Evans at the back. De Gea started ahead of Lindegaard, who has been consistent all through the tour. The optimistic manc would want to think that Cleverley and Anderson are going to feature regularly in the forthcoming season, as shown by their inclusion in the starting XI against the European champions.
On the other side of the field, Barcelona played their traditional fluid formation, though Xavi was left on the bench for Keita, and a host of youngsters such as dos Santos, Afellay, Fontas and Thiago started alongside the big names such Villa and Iniesta. Lionel Messi was another player from the 2011 Champions league final who was missing yesterday, he was rested after the recently concluded Copa America. Rio Ferdinand was given the night off, and Ferguson made seven substitutions by the end with only Nani De Gea, Evans, and Cleverley lasting the full match.
Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; Rafael (Fabio, 17), Vidic, (Jones, 76) Evans, Evra (Smalling, ht); Nani, Cleverley, Anderson (Giggs, ht), Young (Obertan, 62); Rooney (Owen, ht), Welbeck (Diouf, 77).
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Amos, Jones, Ferdinand, Carrick, Park, Berbatov, Macheda.
Barcelona (4-1-4-1): Valdés; Dos Santos (Muniesa, 62), Busquets, Fontàs (Lozano, 73), Abidal (Balliu, 73); Keita; Afellay (Cuenca, 42), Thiago, Iniesta, Pedro (Espinosa, 86); Villa (Carmona, 62).
Subs not used: Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Jeffrén, Pinto, Riverola, Maxwell, Masip.