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Report: Manchester United 1-1 Club America – MUTour2018

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Mexican side Club America in the first pre-season match of the summer, played at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It was a goal-less first half with the Mexican side scoring on the hour after a number of changes. Juan Mata scored United equaliser after hitting the post in the first half of the match.

Jose Mourinho started an experienced side against the Mexican team in United’s first pre-season match of the summer. Anthony Martial led the line, flanked by Juan Mata and Demetri Mitchell with a midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, and Andreas Pereira ahead of a back four which consisted of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Luke Shaw, with Lee Grant making his debut for his new club.

United started the match and immediately tried to get into the advanced area in search of an opening goal of pre-season, however, Club America were seeking the same thing. It may have been 40 degrees outside but the atmosphere inside the stadium, with the roof closed, was much cooler. It was a bright start for Mitchell, who started the match in an advanced left-wing role.

United had the first chance in the seventh minute of the match with Pereira moving the ball forward to Martial, seeking to play a one-two with Herrera but the Mexican side cut possessions thwarting United’s chance to find an early goal. The Mexican side then had a period of possession before United won the ball through Martial with United taking charge of the game, holding possession and launching an attack.

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In the ninth minute, Martial came down in the box, seemingly with the player seeking a penalty. However, a corner was awarded instead after the Frenchman went to ground too easily, which came to nothing for Mourinho’s side. The Mexican side had a chance in the 12th minute of the match, which came to nothing for them. United had another shot on goal in the 13th minute, through Martial from just outside of the box, it was over.

In the 15th minute of the match, United were advancing into the final third of the pitch, finding Mata in a perfect position to unleash a shot on goal, which came off the far post with the Spaniard just inside the box when he shot on goal. It was an unfortunate miss for United. United then started to control the game, in slow fashion with plenty of players in Club America’s half of the pitch.

United were the team on top in the first quarter of the match, having another chance to take the lead in the 19th minute which saw Shaw in an advanced area aiming to get something for his side. Martial had a shot on goal in the 22nd minute of the match, taking a double deflection with United winning a corner, taken by Pereira, which was cleared from danger by the Mexican side.

Club America started to get themselves into the game in the 26th minute with Grant having to make his first save as a United player. United seemed to be a bit sloppy in defence, unable to clear the ball in the run up to Grant’s save. The Mexican side had another shot, after a good period of play from United, in the 31st minute of the match but the shot was well off target and into the stands.

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Club America tested United’s defence again with Grant coming into play once again with an impressive save to deny the Mexican side from taking the lead. United were unable to clear the ball from the danger area in the run up to the shot with the Mexican’s rushing into advanced areas and seemingly seeking to open United up, which they nearly did. It was impressive play by both teams.

In the 37th minute of the match, Club America were breaking through United’s midfield and defence once again, although not as dangerously as they had, at times, launching a cross into the box with United making the clearance, giving away a corner, which came to nothing, giving another corner away minutes later, which turned into another, all coming to nothing for the Mexican side.

In the final five minutes of the first half, both United and Club America were trying to find the better chance to take a lead into the break. Valencia played a good ball forward, into space, nearly getting ahead of his man and advancing but the Mexican side made the clearance to deny Valencia from the space to put a cross into the box. United won a free-kick, through Martial in the 44th minute of the match.

Mata aimed to take the free-kick quickly, the referee stopping it and giving the Mexican side enough time to find some stability in their side. Pereira ended up taking the free-kick, sending the ball goal wards but not quite on target. Club America ended the half on the front foot, gaining ground and seeking to end in style but United made the clearance, which ended the half.

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At the start of the second half, Mourinho made two changes with Joel Pereira replacing Grant and Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Valencia. United started the second half more defensive with the Mexican side, after a number of changes, seemingly seeking to change the game. Whilst United did break through Martial, he lost the ball just before entering the final third.

Shaw won a free-kick in the 50th minute of the game after being blocked when trying to create something for his side. It came to nothing for United. The game was starting to become fast-paced with the Mexican side, somewhat fresher with all the changes, putting some pressure on United but it was pressure they were able to deal with efficiently and effectively.

Shaw made good dispossession in the box and led United on the attack. However, the Mexican side regained possession and broke on the counter. Joel Pereira made a good save, coming off his line and cutting out the chance of a goal, showing his ability as a goalkeeper, which will be good for him before he heads out of the club on loan at some point this summer, presumably when De Gea arrives next week.

In the 56th minute of the match, Martial was in a good position in the box, seeking to collect the pass but Club America dealt with the chance effectively, making the clearance from danger. In the 58th minute, two more changes were made by the Mexican side with United still having nine players on the pitch from the first half.

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Club America took the lead on the hour mark with a bullet header which Pereira could not stop, straight into the top corner. It was a great goal which left United needing to gain something from this match. Mourinho made a double change with Tahith Chong and Matteo Darmian replacing Martial and Mitchell. United seemed to be under the cosh in the passing five minutes after going a goal down.

Chong had a good bit of involvement in the 66th minute, playing the ball into the advanced area after regaining possession and breaking forward. However, his pass did not reach a teammate in order to create something for United. United won a corner in the 75th minute of the match, still trailing. Just before the corner was taken, Mourinho made another change with 16-year-old Mason Greenwood replacing Shaw.

United found the equaliser in the 79th minute with Mata getting on the end of the ball and firing past the Mexican side’s goalkeeper. It was now level with all the play for in the game. United were off the mark in terms of goals, despite going 1-0 down early in the second half. United won a corner in the 83rd minute, despite pressuring the Mexican side, nothing came of it.

With just over five minutes left, McTominay was down, seemingly suffering from a head injury. He was treated on the pitch but came off with Axel Tuanzebe replacing him. Angel Gomes then replaced Mata with three minutes of normal time left in the game. Two minutes were added on at the end of the match. That was it for the first pre-season game, not a defeat for United but not a victory, however, some impressive performances.

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Goals: Juan Mata 78′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76′); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87′), A. Pereira; Mata (Gomes 87′), Martial (Darmian 60′), Mitchell (Chong 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Williams; Hamilton, Garner; Bohui

Bookings: Luke Shaw 73′

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