USA Tour 2011: Friendly

Posted: July 31, 2011 in Sports
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Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona

The game set an attendance record for a football match in the D.C. area, drawing 81,807 people to see two of the top clubs in the world lock horns.
As would be expected, even in a friendly with little on the line Barcelona dominated possession for long spells, but Nani took advantage of the Spanish side’s advanced defensive setup and gave United a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match.
Danny Welbeck set the table with a fantastic break out of the back, the Portuguese winger held his run just long enough to beat the offside trap and from there his pace left him alone with Victor Valdes, and Nani gave the goalkeeper little chance of coming up with a save.

Barcelona continued to dominate a large portion of the match but the chances were limited by United’s defence that tucked in and looked comfortable dealing with the European champions’ constant pressure.
Nani tried to repay the favour to Welbeck 65 minutes in when he slipped a pass through to put the forward in on goal. Valdes made the save this time, and as the rebound fell to Nani he could only slash at a left-footed effort and put it up over the goal.
The miss would come back to haunt United seven minutes later as Thiago smashed home a brilliant equaliser from 25 yards that swerved away from David de Gea and into the upper corner of the goal.

But an uncharacteristic mistake from Pep Guardiola’s side in midfield put United back in front in the 66th minute. Tom Cleverly stepped in to intercept a pass and the break was on, with the midfielder playing Michael Owen in on goal with only Valdes to beat. Owen made no mistake and United were back in the lead.

Thiago and Barcelona continued to push the pace, but the midfielder’s shot from range in the 89th minute couldn’t replicate the brilliance of his earlier effort. And despite numerous pushes into United’s end of the pitch the Catalans couldn’t find a second equaliser.

Owen had a chance to put the match to bed in the first minute of stoppage time after Gabriel Obertan set him up with a great cross, but the striker scuffed the shot up over the goal and Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were forced to settle with just the one goal advantage.


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