[Pre-season] Manchester United 3-1 Real Madrid
ManUtd: Ashley Young (21, 37), Javier Hernandez (80)
R.Madrid: Gareth Bale (pen.37)
Manchester United booked a spot in the International Champions Cup final thanks to a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in front of the biggest-ever crowd for a football match in the United States.
Over 109,318 fans packed inside Michigan Stadium, commonly known as The Big House, to watch the meeting between two of the world’s most famous clubs. The supporters certainly weren’t disappointed after a pulsating clash which ended in United’s favour thanks to Ashley Young's first-half double and a goal after the break from substitute Chicharito.
Louis van Gaal fielded a strong team to face the European champions, who started with Gareth Bale, but left former Reds star Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. Darren Fletcher skippered United once again and it was the Scot who had the game’s first sight of goal. Wayne Rooney’s corner on 14 minutes fell to Fletcher who took a touch to set himself before striking an effort past Iker Casillas’ left-hand post from just inside the box.
United’s bright start continued and it was Fletcher’s drive forward which led to the breakthrough on 21 minutes. After a one-two with Rooney on the edge of the box, the midfielder slipped a pass to Welbeck who found Young on the far left of the box and he steered a shot past Casillas to complete a brilliant move for van Gaal’s men.
The lead lasted a matter of six minutes before Bale at his menacing best drew Real Madrid level. A ball over the top found the Welshman down the left and he powered his way into the area before being brought down by Michael Keane. Bale dusted himself down before sending David De Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Rooney sent a shot straight at Casillas soon after, before Bale went for the spectacular when he rose to meet a left-wing cross with an overhead kick from 12 yards, but De Gea was there to block it.
There was little time to pause for breath thereafter with the Reds regaining the lead on 37 minutes. The impressive Young collected possession on the left and curled a cross towards the head of Rooney. It was just too high for the striker but the ball continued towards goal and crept inside Casillas’ far post.
After the injured Danny Welbeck had been replaced by Wilfried Zaha, Rooney teed up the excellent Juan Mata with a well-worked free-kick but the Spaniard couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Van Gaal brought on more fresh legs at the break with Luke Shaw, Tyler Blackett and Tom Cleverley replacing Young, Jonny Evans and Ander Herrera, but it was Real who were quickest out of the blocks with Bale once again causing havoc down the left. He collected a long pass on the left wing before skipping past Keane and finding Isco unmarked in the box, but his deflected effort, off Phil Jones, was well claimed by De Gea. Bale did manage to beat De Gea on 55 minutes but the post was there to stop his 30-yard free-kick from going in.
Pepe then blasted wide after United had failed to clear a corner before Bale crossed for substitute Raul De Tomas to head over from close range.
At the other end United substitutes Shaw, Shinji Kagawa and Hernandez combined to set up Chicharito for an effort on goal, but his poked effort didn’t carry enough power to beat Casillas who had to be alert to punch away Cleverley’s well-struck shot minutes later.
One of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for the introduction of Ronaldo on 74 minutes, but it was United who ended the day celebrating after Chicharito sealed the Reds' place in the ICC final with a fine header to meet Kagawa's excellent cross. A meeting with arch rivals Liverpool now awaits in Miami on Monday evening.
Manchester United: De Gea; M Keane, Jones, Evans (Blackett 46); Valencia (Lingard 62), Herrera (Cleverley 46), Fletcher, Young (Shaw 46); Mata (Kagawa 62); Rooney (Hernandez 62), Welbeck (Zaha 41).
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Amos, Johnstone, James, Nani, W Keane.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Nacho; Arbeloa (Ronaldo 74), Illarmendi, Alonso (De Tomas 56), Carvajal; Modric, Bale; Isco.
Subs not used: Fdez, Lopez, D Llorente, Osede, Medran, M Llorente, Mascarell, Pacheco, Sobrino, Vazquez, Benzema.