Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the first half before Marcus Rashford doubled the lead at the start of the second half and Jadon Sancho tripling the lead before the hour. Palace got on back though.
United started well in the opening stages against Palace. Erik ten Hag’s side looked raring to go. Anthony Martial looked sharp in the second minute with his confidence clearly building as he got the ball under control 25-yards from goal but his resulting shot failed to trouble Jack Butland.
Just a few minutes later Jordan Ayew picked up a loose ball and had a driving run into the United penalty area. He tried to go on the outside of Harry Maguire with the captain doing well and getting his body between Ayew and the ball, ushering it out for a goal kick.
Fred slid a wonderful pass int behind the Palace defence in the tenth minute of the match with just Butland to beat. He made it off his line and managed to send the resulting shot wide, seemingly injuring his hand at the same time.
There was then a pause in play and Butland was replaced by Remi Matthews in the 13th minute of the match. Just two minutes later, Jean-Philippe Mateta hit an ambitious effort from a wide-right position but it was a low shot and David De Gea made the save, albeit a dangerous one.
Martial opened the scoring in the 18th minute, his third goal of pre-season. Tyrell Malacia found Diogo Dalot from the left and Dalot, under pressure played the ball further into the box, finding Martial by the near post to slot his goal home. £50 million down the drain and all that.
In the 21st minute of the match, Palace were seeking an equaliser. New summer signing Malcolm Ebiowei cut in from the right flank and skipped past a few challenges before firing a low strike towards the near post. It seemed to be sneaking in by De Gea made a smart save.
Palace had another chance two minutes after the last with Ayew unmarked from the corner but he could not get his header on target. Marcus Rashford’s curling cross tested Joel Ward three minutes later but he got his head to it with Martial lurking at the far post.
Maguire made an important intervention in the 27th minute with Jesurun Rak-Sakyi getting a shot away from inside United’s penalty area. The United captain stuck out his leg to make the vital block, nullifying Palace’s change at this stage of the match. The crowd did not boo him then though.
In the 34th minute, Jadon Sancho got the ball to the byline as he cut the ball back to the edge of the penalty area. The ball did not fall for Dalot or Bruno Fernandes with the chance disappearing. Rashford took a shot from the left three minutes lates, which was just wide of the target.
Rashford created another chance a minute later playing a cross right across the face of the goal but Martial could not get a touch of the ball as it drifted out of play. Martial then started an attack, placing the ball into the feet of Maguire, whose shot was just wide of the target.
United ended the half with a flurry of opportunities with Martial flicking the ball into Sancho who raced away before cutting the ball back into the penalty area. Nathaniel Clyne put a stop to that attack. There was four minutes of added time with Killian Phillips getting a yellow card.
Ten Hag made one substitution during the half time break with Donny van de Beek replacing Scott McTominay. United got back to the grind, pressing Palace deep in their own half. Palace seemed so out of this match making it look like an anomaly that they beat United at the end of the season.
Martial launched an attack, passed the ball to Sancho outside the box, expecting it back inside the box. He was closed down and passed to van de Beek, who played it to Rashford at the far post for him to slot the ball home to put United 2-0 up – Rashford’s second goal of pre-season.
Van de Beek had a great chance to get a goal but his shot was deflected just wide of the target. United had another great chance in the 55th minute, winning the ball high up the pitch through Martial, the ball was played to Fernandes who missed the target with his shot.
United went 3-0 up in the 59th minute with Sancho scoring the goal. Martial found Sancho, who was in behind the Palace defence and through on goal. He showed his composure to steer the ball past Matthews and into the corner of the net. His second goal of pre-season.
United made eight changes after the hour mark of the match with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Will Fish, Alex Telles, Zidane Iqbal, Charlie Savage, Anthony Elanga, Amad Diallo and Hannibal Mejbri all coming on to get some important minutes.
Palace got a goal back, after having one ruled out for offside earlier in the second half, through Joel Ward with Luka Milivojevic getting the assist for the goal. It did not do too much damage for United through, who were 3-0 up just before the goal.
Ethan Laird replaced Malacia in the 77th minute of the match with ten substitutions in this half with only David De Gea getting 90 minutes under his belt in this match. United were not really pressured by Palace’s goal as all the substitutes affected the rhythm of the game.
Will Fish saw himself being sent off in the 84th minute of the match after he took a poor touch with allowed Victor Akinwale to burst through but the Palace forward was hauled down by Fish, who was the last man. To be sent off in a friendly is terrible and Jordan Ayew should have seen red too.
United weathered any late storm Palace could have caused with them being down to ten men with a few minutes played at the end of the match. Ten Hag will be happy with what he saw, getting many players up to 60 minutes of match fitness with three pre-season matches remaining.
United won the match 3-1 with Martial scoring three times so far this pre-season and both Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho getting their second goals of the summer campaign. United will be heading to slightly warmer climes to Perth after this match.
United will face Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday, which is the final match of this leg of the tour. United will then fly back to Manchester, having a few days off before training against for their fifth match of pre-season.
United will fly to Oslo, Norway to face Atletico Madrid at the Ullevaal Stadium before flying bacvkc to Manchester to face Rayo Vallecano just 24 hours later at Old Trafford. Then pre-season is over with the Premier League season starting a week later with United entertaining Brighton and Hove Albion.
David De Gea: Made a great save at 1-0 to deny Palace. Got 90 minutes under his belt for the first time this summer with Heaton getting 90 in the last match. Conceded a soft goal through Ward’s header, which he will be annoyed with. Decision making needs improvement. ★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: A fine performance. Has look brilliant on tour – one of United’s best players. Received a good ball from Malacia, playing a cross into Martial for the first goal of the game to be scored. He managed to balance his attacking and defending against Palace. ★★★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: The attention was on Maguire in this match. This left Lindelof able to play in the shadows of the attention with a minimum of fuss – which I am sure he prefers. He did well against Palace as they did not really bother him for large spells of his performance. ★★★★★★★
Harry Maguire: He was booed by the Australian so-called supporters, which was pretty pathetic from them. He regained his composure and proved them all wrong. This is not a pantomime. Maguire is not a villain. Contributed at both ends, better in defence with that block. ★★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: This was his best performance of pre-season. That pass to Dalot which provided the assist for Martial was great to see. He has started to gel with his new teammates and he was committed in defence, which is needed at this level. A good summer signing. ★★★★★★★
Fred: He regularly dropped deep to receive the ball, using it well to help start attacks. There will be people moaning that he’s continually selected by three different managers now. Fred is a good player in this team and better players around him will enhance that. ★★★★★★★
Scott McTominay: Combined well in the first half and did little wrong. Did not have any involvement in the opening goal which saw Malacia, Dalot and Martial work well in the box. He was replaced by van de Beek at the start of the second half with the Dutchman playing deeper. ★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: He switched wings at times, which is what he and Rashford will be doing regularly to cut down the predictability of this team. He was lively on the ball and got his second goal of pre-season so far. This style of play is making him look great. ★★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: He has adapted well to this new style of play. He seems both proactive and patient. Last season he got frustrated more times than was necessary. He had involvement in the second goal but is still looking to score this summer. ★★★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: He was quite for much of this match, at least until that cross that Beckham would have been proud of. He got his second goal of the summer so far, which he will continue to build on. Seeing him playing like this makes it seem like he could be back. ★★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: Scored his third goal of pre-season and seemed to be growing in confidence. Worked well with Malacia and Dalot, who assisted the goal. His finish was cooly slotted home. It is great to see Martial in this frame of mind and enjoying his football. ★★★★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: Replaced McTominay 46′. Started the second half in a deep position and got an assist almost right away, playing the ball into Rashford in the 48th minute. He was much further up the pitch when the match ended. It was positive performance from him. ★★★★★★★
Alex Telles: Replaced Lindelof 66′. He is not a central defender. He’s not going to play at left-back this season. His future seems to be away from United. Beaten in the air by Ward, who scored Palace’s only goal of the game. ★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Replaced Dalot 66′. Did what was needed but the tempo of the game changed after all of the substitutions. After Fish was sent off, he was moved into the centre of the defence. It was not ideal for him but he did well there. ★★★★★★
Will Fish: Replaced Maguire 66′. Was entrusted to do a job but ended up getting himself sent off in the 84th minute after taking out a player as the last man. Mistakes happen but this will be a black mark on his name. It is never good to get send off in pre-season. ★★★★
Amad Diallo: Replaced Sancho 68′. I feel he wasted an opportunity on the breakaway in the second half. It is a learning experience and youth players will make mistakes. This season will likely see him on loan and it will be important for him to do well and find his feet. ★★★★★
Hannibal Mejbri: Replaced Rashford 68′. He had a shot on goal during his first appearances for the club on this pre-season tour. He might find himself getting another game against Aston Villa on Saturday but should definitely be involved in at least one of the last two matches. ★★★★★★
Charlie Savage: Replaced Fred 68′. Continued his good performances in pre-season but had a lapse on the ball in this match and had to recover it. This is a learning curve and he will become better for it. Not one footballer has not made a mistake out there in their career. ★★★★★★
Zidane Iqbal: Replaced Fernandes 68′. Was tidy in possession and did well on his third appearance of pre-season. He should get more football this season with United playing in the second round of the Carabao Cup and in the UEFA Europa League – save for Savage too. ★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Martial 69′. Had little impact, just like his other two appearances. A loan spell would be positive for him this season as playing like this, he’s not going to get much done for United. He is a good prospect but should be doing more than this. ★★★★★
Ethan Laird: Replaced Malacia 77′. Came on late and did what he needed to do, albeit at left-back. The tempo had slowed right down in the match because of all the substitutes. He may get more minutes in future matches but he could also leave the club this summer. ★★★★★
Erik ten Hag: Will be happy with three wins in three. More importantly, seeing many of his first team players getting fitter and ready for the next season. Anthony Martial has to be the one that has shone so far this summer, turning his career around, at least at the moment. ★★★★★★★★
Goals: Anthony Martial 17′, Marcus Rashford 48′, Jadon Sancho 59′; Joel Ward 74′
Assists: Diogo Dalot 17′, Donny van de Beek 48′, Anthony Martial 59′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 66′), Lindelof (Telles 66′), Maguire (Fish 66′), Malacia (Laird 77′); Fred (Savage 68′), McTominay (van de Beek 46′); Sancho (Amad 68′), Fernandes (Iqbal 68′), Rashford (Hannibal 68′); Martial (Elanga 69′)
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Kovar; Bailly, Shaw; Pellistri; Chong, Garnacho
Bookings: Will Fish 84′ s/o; Killian Phillips 45+3′, Jordan Ayew 57′
Written by John Walker