United 1:1 Against All Stars
Highly favored Manchester United began its six-game Tour 2013 against two all-star lineups, slipping to a shocking defeat against Thailand’s finest in the first and then routing Australia’s A-League in game two.
Manchester United’s first match under new head coach David Moyes ended in a disappointing defeat, surprising even the 50,000 Thai fans at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. The Premiere League champions were heavily favored to win. The final score was 1:0 for the All Stars.
Though overflowing with Reds fans, the stadium went wild when All Stars captain Terratep Winothai scored the game’s only goal just after the half. Winothai proved to be the man of the match and was certainly the most active footballer on the pitch.
United was shaken up only five minutes into the match when Winothai went head-to-head with new goalkeeper Ben Amos, who made an impressive save at point-blank range. “It was probably up there with the best saves I’ve made,” Amos told ManUtd.com after the game.
Though the team eventually settled down, they struggled to find their form and didn’t have a genuine shot on goal until the 22nd minute. United veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs managed to put the ball in the net in the second half, only to be ruled offsides by the line judge. The Reds’ best chance came with just eight minutes to play, when newcomer Wilfried Zaha bounced an impressive shot off the far post. United followed the effort with a furious attack on the Thai goal in the match’s waning moments.
In the end the Singha All Stars held off the onslaught to hoist the Singha 80th Anniversary Cup and chalk up a historic victory for the small Southeast Asian country.
“It wasn’t a brilliant result and I am a bit disappointed we didn’t get something out of the game but at least we got a good fitness workout and we gave some young players a run out,” coach Moyes said.
Training in Sydney
The Reds quickly put their opening loss behind them and hopped a flight to Australia’s largest metropolis to prepare for their next all-star matchup on July 20.
The boys from Old Trafford see their first match as a learning experience and are building upon it. The team completed a tough week, with dual training sessions on most days.
“That’s what it’s all about and we want to get as fit as possible before the season,” said Reds defender Jonny Evans.
Next All Stars test
Things didn’t get any easier this past weekend when Manchester United faced a second team of all stars in Sydney. Some of the A-League’s top players were out on the pitch in front of a sold-out crowd at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Captain and former Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton led the A-League All Stars. “We have a squad full of talented players,” he said before the match. “We're coming up against a very good team so it's going to be a great test for us, but we're all looking forward to it.” Former Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller was also in the All Star line up. Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero and Japanese midfielder, Shinji Ono, did not join the squad as originally reported.
“That’s more like it”
Australia’s enthusiasm came crashing down as Manchester United notched up its first win under their new head coach – and the team did so in true form, routing Australia’s top players 5-1 and exclaiming “that’s more like it” on their website.
Jesse Lingard and Danny Welbeck were the Reds’ all stars, each with two goals apiece. Top United goal scorer Robin van Persie, who came in as a substitute in the second half, rounded off a perfect day in the match’s final minutes.
Sydney’s enormous ANZ stadium was pushed to capacity as 83,127 fans packed its stands for this unique opportunity to watch their A-League favorites go up against one of the world’s all-time best soccer clubs. And it was well worth rubbing elbows with a neighbor to see this action-packed match that was filled with classic, pass-and-move football that was a joy to watch.
Lingard netted his first goal in the 11th minute after a swell of chances in the game’s early minutes. It was no holds barred at that point with the Reds absolutely dominating the pitch.
The home team managed to find the net to make it 2-1 early in the second period, but United answered promptly courtesy once again of Lingard.
Next up: Yokohama
After over a week down under the Reds head back north to take on Japanese powerhouse Yokohama at Nissan Stadium on July 23.
Don’t miss more tour news and highlights at the Tour 2013 website