Manchester United drew 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford in the final pre-season match of the summer. Amad Diallo scored the opening goal three minutes into the second half but it was a short-lived lead as Álvaro García equalised just nine minutes later. It was a good run out for some of United’s youth players though.
Rayo Vallecano started on the front foot at Old Trafford drawing a save from Tom Heaton almost immediately after Alvaro Garcia’s left footed shot in the first minute. United soon grew into the match with Alejandro Garnacho seeing his attempt on goal blocked after being found by Ethan Laird in the box.
A minute later, Alex Telles missed an attempt on goal from a corner. In the 12th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo, after being played in by Donny van de Beek, saw his left footed shot saved by the Vallecano goalkeeper. The Spanish side were ruled offside in the 16th minute as Óscar Trejo tried a through ball into Fran Garcia.
Unai López found himself in the book in the 18th minute after fouling a United player. Just three minutes later, former United forward Radamel Falcao saw his attempt miss the target after goal play from Iván Balliu. Just two minutes after that, James Garner saw a yellow card for a foul, meaning he will need to watch himself for the remainder of the half.
Falcao had a second attempt on goal in the 25th minute of the match, this time seeing his shot blocked. A minute later the offside flag was raised again as Trejo tried a through ball into Falcao but he was offside. Tahith Chong seemed to be up for this challenge today with Garnacho also using his pace to put him on Erik ten Hag’s radar.
On the half hour mark, Chong had an attempt on goal, which was blocked with Christian Eriksen being played on by Chong to fire his effort towards goal, only for it to fly past the target. It was a good effort by the Denmark international though. United have dealt quite well with the threat of the Madrid club.
Just seven minutes later, Laird had a chance on goal which was off target from outside of the box. A minute later Donny van de Beek had an attempt on goal, which was blocked. United ended the half on the front foot with Chong having a shot on goal in the last minute of the half, which again was off target.
The half ended as it started, 0-0 and all still to do in the second half. It was a positive period of play for United and the likes of Garnacho, Chong, Garner and Eriksen all did well and Lisandro Martinez making his debut and doing what was expected of him will give United a different dimension when the season starts.
At the start of the second half, Ten Hag made his first substitution with Amad Diallo replacing Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not expected to get many minutes being his first match this pre-season – and possible his last at the Theatre of Dreams. Diego Lopez also replaced Stole Dimitrievski at the start of the first half for the Madrid side.
Garnacho got the first chance of the second half, seeing his shot on goal being blocked, after being played in by Telles. A minute later, Telles was on the attack, seeing his shot saved, which was played into him by Eriksen. Amad then pounced onto the ball beating Lopez from close range to put United 1-0 up.
Falcao almost scored in front of the East Stand in the 52nd minute, beating Heaton and hitting the crossbar. It was lucky for United. Unai Lopez saw his shot blocked in the 56th minute after some good work from Alejandro Catena. Isi Palazón then saw his attempt saved in the 57th minute before Álvaro García equalised for the Madrid side.
In the 61st minute, Ten Hag made a double substitution with Eric Bailly and Hannibal Mejbri replacing Lisandro Martinez and Eriksen. Garcis had another shot saved three minutes later, just before the Madrid side made three substitutions, which was the end of the game for Falcao. In the 68th minute, van de Beek had a shot on goal, not even getting close.
Ten Hag made another double substitution in the 73rd minute with Shola Shoretire and Zidane Iqbal replacing Garnacho and Garner. The Madrid side also made a substitution. Óscar Valentín was booked in the 77th for a foul. Chong had a chance on goal two minutes later but he was offside. Iqbal then had a shot from outside of the box, just wide of the target.
In the 85th minute, Isak Hansen-Aaroen came on to replace Chong, making his first appearance by the first team. He almost had a great chance with his first touch of the ball and did well to see another attack going a minute or so later. United started to finish this match in fine fettle searching for their elusive second goal of the game.
It was not going to be another win for United, or a defeat like yesterday. It was good to see the youth players who were given a chance in this match though. They will be thankful that they were given this opportunity to play in a first team match, despite it being a pre-season encounter. It will show them what they need to do to make the grade.
That is it for United’s pre-season. Three wins, two draws and one defeat in the six matches played in Bangkok, Melbourne, Perth, Oslo and Manchester. Ten Hag’s side will now be readying themselves for their opening Premier League encounter in a week’s time at Old Trafford where they will welcome Brighton and Hove Albion -a must win match to start the season.
Tom Heaton: Had to make a save right at the start of the match and did so very well. He was tested at times and saw himself beaten by Falcao, but he hit the crossbar. Conceded a goal in the 57th minute, which would have been a tough save to make. He did what he needed to do in goal and will be seeking to challenge De Gea this season. ★★★★★★★
Ethan Laird: Had probably one of the best performances in his career at United. He made Wan-Bissaka look like an amateur based on what he did in this match. It will be good to see him given a chance at Watford this season, if the rumours are true that he will head out on loan this week. He could be a future contender for the right-back position. ★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: Was the Captain for the day but was rusty after yet another injury. He was not as solid as he could be and seemed to stop United playing out from the back. You won’t see him get the criticism that Maguire gets though. For a player of his experience, I expect so much better. Martinez and Maguire will form a partnership. ★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: Made his debut for United at Old Trafford. Did what he needed to do defensively throughout his appearances and was not really tested, although Vallecano had some good chances on goal. He is going to be a positive player for United this season and the defence really needs someone like him. He and Maguire will form a partnership. ★★★★★★★
Alex Telles: Had a few good chances from the edge of the box, the first of which drew a save which Amad pounced on and scored the opening goal of the game. The Brazilian had another good shot on goal late in the second half, which was off target. It was positive performance from him but I don’t see him being at the club for much longer. ★★★★★
James Garner: Booked in the first half for a foul which was not all that bad. Seemed to be up for the challenge of breaking into the United midfield this season but Frenkie de Jong’s prospective deal could scupper that. He played well through his appearance and did not really do anything wrong. It was good to see him get minutes. ★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: Did what was needed in a deeper role but nothing more than that. He had a chance on goal in the second half, but was well off target – it was an embarrassing shot on goal, which ended up in the crowed closer to the corner. I feel he needs to be doing so much better at this club to be a starting player. ★★★★★
Tahith Chong: He was eager to get a foot in the door in this team. That said, he did not do much damage to the Spanish side and will not be starting ahead of the likes of Garanacho, Sancho or Rashford. I think either a loan spell away from United, or a sale would be better for United going forward. I don’t think he’s good enough. ★★★
Christian Eriksen: It was good to see him play just a day after making his debut in Oslo. Played in a curling shot that almost found the back of the net. He has a great ability with the ball and will do wonders for this United side. I cannot wait to see more of him this season. He will be one of the better signings in recent years. ★★★★★★
Alejandro Garnacho: What a performance from the 18-year-old. He travelled on pre-season but did not play a minute in Thailand or Australia, which was a shame. He made up for that at the Theatre of Dreams though. He has it all; pace, ability, trickery and desire. He needs to be put into the first team this season to find the end product at this level. ★★★★★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Made his first appearance of pre-season, which could also be his last at Old Trafford, at least if the rumours continue. He blazed a shot over the crossbar after van de Beek found him. He played well but the service was not good enough in this match for him to do more. He did not emerge from the tunnel in the second half. ★★★★★★
Amad Diallo: Replaced Ronaldo 46′. Opened the scoring just three minutes into his appearance, pouncing onto the ball after a Telles shot on goal and beating the Rayo Vallecano goalkeeper. It was a good finish for the Ivorian. After his goal, despite him being lively, he did not do all that much. A loan spell this season beckons for him. ★★★★★★★
Eric Bailly: Replaced Martinez 61′. The Ivorian had an athletic presence in the centre of the defence playing alongside Varane. His future at United seems to have changed with rumours of an impending exit coming, even though reports suggested that he wanted to fight for his place. Hopefully it is not a loan spell. United need to sell him. ★★★★★★
Hannibal Mejbri: Replaced Eriksen 61′. It was good to see him back on the pitch this summer. I don’t think he will get a lot of minutes in the first team this season, unless he starts to impress of course. I would like to see him loaned to a Championship club as I think he could learn a lot playing in a first team environment week in and week out. ★★★★★★
Shola Shoretire: Replaced Garnacho 73′. I don’t think he saw much of the ball but seemed grateful for the appearance that he got. In terms of him breaking into the first team this season, I don’t think it is all that likely. He needs to work hard and find a way to break in. A loan spell could be good for him.★★★★★
Zidane Iqbal: Replaced Garner 74′. He was one of the success stories of pre-season this summer and continued to collect the plaudits after another enterprising performance against the Madrid side. He could see some first team minutes this season in the Carabao Cup or the Europa League which would be great for him. ★★★★★★★
Isak Hansen-Aaoren: Replaced Chong 85′. Made his cameo late in the game and did not disappoint. Had an impact from the moment he came on and was unlucky. He kept attacking as United sought a winner that never came. He will be a player to watch this season and he could get more minutes if he starts to impress. ★★★★★★
Goals: Amad Diallo 48′; Álvaro García 57′
Manchester United: Heaton; Laird, Varane, Martinez (Bailly 61′), Telles; Garner (Iqbal 74′), van de Beek; Chong (Hansen-Aaroen 85′), Eriksen (Hannibal 61′), Garnacho (Shoretire 73′); Ronaldo (Amad 46′)
Substitutes Not Used: Bishop, Kovar; Fish, Wellens; Savage; McNeill
Bookings: James Garner 23′; Unai López 18′, Óscar Valentín 77′
Written by John Walker