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Report: Lukaku and Rashford silence the noisy neighbours

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-0 in the first Manchester derby to be played outside of the United Kingdom. It was an end-to-end match for much of the first half but Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after a through ball from Paul Pogba. Two minutes later Henrikh Mkhitaryan set Marcus Rashford up to double United’s lead, scoring his third pre-season goal in three matches. The second half saw Lukaku hit the far post and Pogba hit the side netting, which were the highlights of the half. United did what they needed to do, win in Houston.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the victory over Real Salt Lake with David De Gea returning in goal, Antonio Valencia, sent off in the last match starting again, Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling partnering in the centre of defence, Daley Blind playing at left-back, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba partnering in midfield, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard all playing behind Romelu Lukaku. United started off well getting a shot on goal through Herrera in the third minute of the match with Ederson making the save to thwart the Spaniard from finding the back of the net.

United looked bright on the right-hand side causing many problems for City throughout the opening minutes of the match. United twice had a shot on goal, both off target with City not really being threatened. In the seventh minute, Raheem Sterling fired a cross into United’s box for Sergio Aguero to find a goal but United thwarted the cross, making the clearance. Seconds later De Gea had to make a save to thwart City from taking the lead. Ederson made a brave save in the ninth minute after Blind crossed into the box for Lukaku with the Brazilian making the save to stop the Belgian from scoring.

In the 12th minute City nearly got through on goal through Phil Foden, whose touch let him down. United made the clearance giving away a corner, which amounted to nothing for City. It was end-to-end football throughout the opening stages with both teams putting suitable pressure on the other to try and take first blood in the match, nothing happening to make that happen thus far. United won a corner through Rashford, who burst up the left flank to try and create something, City clearing the ball, which came to nothing for United with the Red Devils still in possession of the ball and advancing into the final third again.

United pressured City in the 18th minute of the match with Rashford, Blind and Mkhitaryan advancing. Rashford got the better of his man after some good interplay, firing a shot, which was wide of the target. Rashford was fouled just outside of the area with nothing given by the referee. City then had the ball in United’s final third, pressing with accurate passing to gain some space to take advantage of United, which did not happen on that play. Mkhitaryan tried to get United ahead in the 21st minute, but City recovered possession. The Armenian tried to play a pass to Lukaku, which was intercepted.

Valencia on the right flank kept the ball in play, putting a cross into the box, which United retained passing out in the middle third with Herrera firing a long-range effort goalwards which was saved by Ederson once again. At the other end, City had a chance with De Gea thwarting the fizzing effort on goal. City then won a corner with United intercepting and advancing with Kyle Walker gaining possession from Rashford. United won another free-kick after Mkhitaryan was taken out 30 yards from goal. Pogba hitting it on target, Ederson catching the ball thwarting United’s effort once again. Ederson is better than Claudio Bravo, not that it is a tough feat.

United, after some brilliant defending managed to thwart City after some pressure with 15 minutes of the half remaining. City seemed to get the better of United at times, with United also getting the better of their opposition with end-to-end play throughout the first half. City pressured United again with Smalling tracking back, slipping and nearly gifting City the first goal of the match, but De Gea cleared the threat before making another save. In the 37th minute of the match, Lukaku scored the first goal after making the run, beating the keeper who was advancing from his area and scoring from a tight angle, assisted by Pogba with a through ball.

Rashford scored minutes later doubling United’s lead after Mkhitaryan setting the teenager up for his third goal of pre-season, showing City just who he is right now. United were flying but there was a long way to go yet. City maybe had a better spell during the first half with United doing what was required to get the two goals. Foden had a shot on goal in the 41st minute with De Gea making the save, giving away a corner which was caught by the Spaniard. Yaya Toure was booked in the 42nd minute for a challenge on Mkhitaryan. United on the advance again before the break having a shot which was kept out by the Brazilian goalkeeper. 2-0 to United at the break.

At the start of the second half City made some wholesale changes to their team with it being their first pre-season match of the summer, United bringing on Sergio Romero for De Gea, Lindelof, Smalling and Blind being replaced by Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian. It was a scrappy start to the second half with the changes made, especially by City who changed a lot of their team. United were still doing well 2-0 up and seemingly looking for more with Rashford earning a United corner with what seemed like a cross into Lukaku, which could have been an attempt on goal. Lukaku headed from the corner, wide of the mark. Unlucky for United.

In the 53rd minute of the match Lukaku had another shot on goal, beating the keeper but hitting the far post. City were immediately on the ball and pressuring but United won the ball back in their own box to clear the danger. Eliaquim Mangala was booked for pulling Rashford down on the advance, which saw United pressure City with their possession. City won back the ball and tried to pressure themselves, United winning the ball in their own half, passing back to Romero who played the ball up the pitch with Gabriel Jesus trying to catch him off guard and find a goal to get City back into the game, which did not happen.

In the 62nd minute Jose Mourinho made further changes with Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial replacing Herrera, Mkhitaryan and Rashford. In the 64th minute, Pogba had a shot on goal, hitting the side netting, which was unfortunate as United dominated their cross-city rivals. United hit the post and the side netting in the second half so far. United seemed to be doing well closing City down when they tried to advance with Carrick and Fellaini trying to control the midfield, which seemed to be working after United made three more changes. City tried to make a break on the right flank with Jones blocking the cross giving a corner.

In the 72nd minute, United on the advance through Lingard won a corner after the cross was deflected behind. Martial took the corner with City clearing and United gaining possession again before City won the ball back. City then created an opportunity to score, Romero getting a touch then City trying to chip the Argentinian, which was over the crossbar. In the 77th minute, Pogba won a corner and Mourinho made two more changes with Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Andreas Pereira replacing Valencia and Lingard. United could have scored a third goal after the changes with Jones through, missing and Lukaku finding the back of the net, albeit offside.

Inside the final ten minutes of the match, United were still 2-0 with City yet to cause any damage. The signs were positive for United, but City’s lack of match fitness may have been the main reason, let alone the changes made at half time and throughout the second half. Still, the third win on the run for United in their pre-season tour, which means nothing other than fitness and confidence levels at the end of the day. United were playing well, which was good to see – perhaps it will run into the new season and the player will benefit and start the season running, which will be needed to challenge for the Premier League title.

In the 85th minute, City had another chance to find a goal with Romero standing in the way, giving them a corner, which came to nothing with United gaining possession again and running forward. Pogba won a throw-in deep in the City half which was passed over to the other side of the pitch with Darmian losing the ball with Walker on the advance and City keeping possession just outside the final third. City were probing for a goal, even if it was just one. United were so far doing what they needed to do, pressure the opposition, even off the ball. Bailly made a clearance giving away a throw-in inside the last few minutes of the match.

It was a good result for United with both Lukaku and Pogba playing 90 minutes for the first time this summer, United played well and did what they needed to do earlier in the match scoring two quick goals and stunning their opposition. Three wins on the tour for United as they prepare to take on Real Madrid in Santa Clara on Sunday before travelling to Washington DC to face Barcelona next week. The US leg of the pre-season tour is over half way through with Valerenga in Oslo and Sampdoria in Dublin also to play before United take on Real Madrid again in Macedonia to contest the UEFA Super Cup, the only trophy Carrick has not won with United.

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 37′, Marcus Rashford 39′

Assists: Paul Pogba 37′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 39′

Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Lindelof (Bailly 46′), Smalling (Jones 46′), Blind (Darmian 46′); Herrera (Fellaini 62), Pogba; Rashford (Martial 62′), Mkhitaryan (Carrick 62′), Lingard (A. Pereira 77′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: J. Pereira; Mitchell, Tuanzebe; McTominay

Bookings: Daley Blind 45′

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