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Player Ratings: Sevilla beat United 2-1; Fernandes did not give up; Lindelof not good enough

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Sevilla in the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League. United took the lead in the game after Marcus Rashford won a penalty which Bruno Fernandes scored. Sevilla equalised through Suso 17 minutes later. United looked lively at times but poor finishing cost them after they had many attacking chances on the bounce at the start of the second half, then looked tired. Luuk de Jong scored what turned into the winner in the 78th minute with United running empty.

United started well on the attack, aiming to find an early goal. In the seventh minute of the match United won a penalty after Anthony Martial flicked the ball further into the box with Marcus Rashford running through and his shot being saved. However, an off the ball foul on Rashford happened with a penalty being awarded, United’s 22nd of the season, Bruno Fernandes took the spot kick, putting United 1-0 up in the ninth minute of the match, scoring his 12th goal for the club this season.

In the 26th minute of the match, Sevilla equalised through Suso which had been coming with both teams attacking fluidly throughout the match so far. Lucas Ocampos slipped a great pass into Sergio Reguilon with Aaron Wan-Bissaka a yard behind with the ball being played to Suso who waiting to tap home at the near post. It was an unfortunate goal for United and they were going to need to do a lot more the get the win in this game, with a place in the final up for grabs.

It was 1-1 at the break with United still trying to find the goal to put them in the lead again. Rashford was lively for the reminder of the half but Sevilla were countering everything that United did, trying to fins the goal to put them ahead in the game also. Solskjaer would need to look at his tactics going into the break to try and find a way for United to nullify certain players for Sevilla which could be the key to winning the game. United have seemingly done everything right so far.

From the very start of the second half, United were the team going to try and take the match by the scruff of the neck, searching for that goal to put them ahead once again. The Sevilla goalkeeper, Yassine Bounou was impressive in stoping United from taking the lead for the second time in the match. United had more of the attacking in the first ten minutes of the half. The match the. started to level with end to end football. Rashford was booked for dissent in the 66th minute of the match.

Luuk de Jong took the lead for Sevilla in the 78th minute of the match with United’s defence sleeping and Victor Lindelof running towards the ball, stopping then seemingly blaming Fernandes. In the 87th minute, Solskjaer made a triple substitution with Tim Fosu-Mensah, Daniel James and Juan Mata replacing Brandon Williams, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Rashford. Six minutes of added time was to be played at the end of the match with United running out of time to find an equaliser. United were beaten and their season, which started a year ago, is now over.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded two goals with both down to poor defending at fullback and with Lindelof not doing his job for the second. He will be disappointed.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Needs to find some improvement at fullback as he has seemed sleepy, especially for both Sevilla goals. Solskjaer will not be impressed with the right-back. He was replaced by James in the 87th minute.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Started the game in good stead but for Sevilla's second goal, he ran towards the ball, stopped and seemed to blame Fernandes. Poor defensively when it matters in this match.

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5 Harry Maguire

Will be disappointed after playing a lot of football this season. The defeat is not ideal but has happened. The defence has improved this season but was poor in this match. Time for a break then getting ready for the new season.

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33 Brandon Williams

Dug deep against Sevilla and did some good work on the ball, getting forward a lot. He was replaced by Fosu-Mensah in the 87th minute. Williams did not hold his head down once.

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17 Fred

Had a good game playing as the holding midfielder against Sevilla. Covered plenty of the pitch and tried to push United forward.

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11 Mason Greenwood

One of the stars of the match and could have been the difference in the game on more than one occasion. He will not like the taste of defeat but at least United did not rely on winning this competition to get Champions League football.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored his 12th goal of the season for United, scoring the clubs 22nd penalty. It was also his 49th goal contribution in 50 matches this season, for both United and Sporting. This guy is a class act.

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6 Paul Pogba

Had a better match against Sevilla and seemed more ready to play with the ball at his feet. Lost the ball at times but it was an end to end game much of the time.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Needed to do better after his last few matches and did just that. Won United a penalty in the seventh minute of the match which Fernandes scored in the ninth minute. Was one of the players looking to put United forward from the start of the second half, pushing for that win. Booked for dissent in the 66th minute for bouncing the ball in frustration. He was replaced by Mata in the 87th minute.

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9 Anthony Martial

Looked lively early in the match but United seemed to be poor at taking their chances. United had a good period of play to find a second goal but it never came.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Rashford 87'. Made little impact after coming on late in the game.

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21 Daniel James

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 87'. Had chances to help get United level but did not take the risk. This is where he needs to improve, a lot.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Replaced Williams 87'. Provided cover at left-back with United's depth in the position lacking. Did what he needed to do.

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25 Odion Ighalo

Replaced Greenwood 90+3'. Came on at the death with United having three minutes

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Goals: Suso 26′, Luuk de Jong 78′; Bruno Fernandes 9′ (penalty)

Assists: Sergio Reguilon 26′, Jesus Navas 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (James 87′), Lindelof, Maguire, Williams (Fosu-Mensah 87′); Fred; Greenwood (Ighalo 90+3′), Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford (Mata 87′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Grant; Bailly, Mengi; Lingard, Pereira, Matic, McTominay

Bookings: Diego Santos Silva 21′, Munir 86′; Brandon Williams 17′, Marcus Rashford 66′, Harry Maguire 86′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: De Gea, Lindelof and Fred start against Sevilla; Europa League final or bust

Manchester United have reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League this season and will face Spanish side Sevilla at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Julen Lopetegui’s side, who have done well this season and have beaten both AS Roma and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last matches in the competition. United will have a tough match on their hands.

United and Sevilla have met twice in European competition, playing in the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League during the 2017/18 season, in which they qualified for the completion by lifting the Europa League at the end of the 2016/17 season, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final. It was a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Sevilla followed by a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester, which resulted in United exiting from the competition. United will need to do much better.

Both United and Sevilla have good records in the UEFA Europa League with the Spanish club winning the competition five times in the past 15 years, winning back to back titles on the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons then winning three in a row in the 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 seasons. Sevilla have made the semi-final stage five times, winning all of them and all five finals. United have reached one semi-final and final, winning both in the 2016/17 season. One of the club will lose their 100% record on Sunday evening in Cologne.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams;

Fred;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero, Grant; Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Mengi; Mata, Lingard, Pereira, James, Matic, McTominay; Ighalo

Sevilla:

Bounou;

Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Reguilon;

Banega, Fernando, Jordan;

Suso, En-Nesyri, Ocampos

Substitutes:

Vaclik, Sanchez, Gomez, Munir, Gudelj, Escudero, de Jong, Torres, Vazquez, Alonso, Genaro, Perez

United and Sevilla have met twice before, playing in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League in the 2017/18 season. On the 21 February 2018, it was a 0-0 draw in Seville with United failing to score an away goal, which was bad news for Jose Mourinho’s side. Three weeks later at Old Trafford, the Spanish side won 2-1 with Wassim Ben Yedder scoring a brace in the 74th and 78th minute with Romelu Lukaku scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute of the match, exiting the competition.

Sevilla have played many times against English opposition; beating Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week. They have faced Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leicester City in the past five years and further back have faced Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers. United have played many teams from Spain including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, and Athletic Club in the past decade with a few more clubs from Spain going back further in time.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood to start against Sevilla

Manchester United have reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League this season and will face Spanish side Sevilla at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Julen Lopetegui’s side, who have done well this season and have beaten both AS Roma and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last matches in the competition. United will have a tough match on their hands.

United and Sevilla have met twice in European competition, playing in the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League during the 2017/18 season, in which they qualified for the completion by lifting the Europa League at the end of the 2016/17 season, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final. It was a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Sevilla followed by a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester, which resulted in United exiting from the competition. United will need to do much better.

Both United and Sevilla have good records in the UEFA Europa League with the Spanish club winning the competition five times in the past 15 years, winning back to back titles on the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons then winning three in a row in the 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 seasons. Sevilla have made the semi-final stage five times, winning all of them and all five finals. United have reached one semi-final and final, winning both in the 2016/17 season. One of the club will lose their 100% record on Sunday evening in Cologne.

How United have faired against Sevilla and other Spanish opposition in European competition.

United and Sevilla have met twice before, playing in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League in the 2017/18 season. On the 21 February 2018, it was a 0-0 draw in Seville with United failing to score an away goal, which was bad news for Jose Mourinho’s side. Three weeks later at Old Trafford, the Spanish side won 2-1 with Wassim Ben Yedder scoring a brace in the 74th and 78th minute with Romelu Lukaku scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute of the match, exiting the competition.

Sevilla have played many times against English opposition; beating Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week. They have faced Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leicester City in the past five years and further back have faced Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers. United have played many teams from Spain including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, and Athletic Club in the past decade with a few more clubs from Spain going back further in time.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League semi-final at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne on Sunday evening…

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

I believe that Sergio Romero should keep his place in the team for the remainder of United’s season, whether their participation in the Europa League ends against Sevilla, or they reach the final of the competition this summer. The Argentinian has done well when he has been called upon this season, with 12 clean sheets and five conceded goals in 17 appearances, which have all been in the cup competitions this season. David De Gea has made 42 appearances, all 38 in the Premier League with the remaining four in the Carabao Cup (two) and the Emirates FA Cup and Europa League (one in each) but he has conceded 42 goals, keeping 15 clean sheets. In Romero we trust – he has done this before and could do it again.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

United’s defence will need to be on top of their game against Sevilla. Eric Bailly started against Copenhagen with Victor Lindelof coming on later in the match. The Swede should be starting, partnering Harry Maguire in the semi-final of the Europa League with both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams in the fullback positions, giving United extra width on the attack. Wan-Bissaka has his defensive position nailed on this season and has, along with the addition of Maguire, helped to solve a problem. Going forward though, the English defender will need to provide more going forward. He has four assists, all in the Premier League this season and should be looking to add to that either during the remainder of this season and definitely next season.

Midfield: Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic

Against FC Copenhagen, Solskjaer started Fred and Paul Pogba together in the centre of midfield. Personally, I do not think it was the best partnership and later in the match, Nemanja Matic was brought on to do the job that he needed to do. This season, the duo of Matic and Pogba is the best option that United have right now. Against Sevilla, it will be important that United have more control of the midfield and I feel that playing Fred from the start will not do that – which is nothing against the Brazilian but he’s a squad player – nothing more right now. Late in the match, Fred might work but from the start, Pogba and Matic would be the best partnership based on what they have done in the latter stages of the season. Pogba needs to stand up as another leader in the pack, with a trophy close to United’s grasp.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

In the three positions behind the striker, United have been dangerous over the course of the season. Mason Greenwood has scored 17 goals, assisting five more, Bruno Fernandes has scored 12 goals and eight assists with Marcus Rashford on 22 goals and 10 assists. This season, Fernandes has played 49 matches, scored 26 goals and 22 assists (for both Sporting and United), meaning that he has been involved in 48 goals in 49 matches, which is not a bad statistic. At this moment in time though, Rashford is the weakest link in this trio as he has not scored in his last three matches, scoring and assisting against Crystal Palace close to the end of the domestic season. Rashford will know what he has to do.

Striker: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial has scored 23 goals and 12 assists this season, which is his best season at United in the five years that he has played for the club. It is fair to say that the Frenchman is in form at this stage of the season but that he could be more ruthless in front of goal. Obviously, things come in stages and his improvement this season has been easy to see and he could continue that next season, bringing in his ruthless streak which could make him one of the best attacking players in the league. Martial will be seeking to score more goals this season, impressing his manager and his teammates, and of course the clubs supporters.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Teden Mengi; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, James Garner, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo

With five substitutes allowed for the remainder of this competition, Solskjaer will have plenty of options should he need them against Sevilla. I expect David De Gea to remain on the bench once again. In defence, Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Teden Mengi could be called upon should they be needed. In midfield, where Solskjaer has a lot of depth, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, James Garner and Scott McTominay should be available. In attack, with Tahith Chong’s loan spell seemingly getting closer, Odion Ighalo might be the only attacking player available.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United need to squash Sevilla for Europa League final place

Sevilla -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

RheinEnergieSTADION, Cologne, Germany

Sunday 16 August 2020, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Felix Brych Assistants: Mark Borsch, Stefan Lupp 

Fourth Official: Daniel Siebert

VAR: Bastian Dankert Assistant VAR: Marco Fritz

Manchester United have reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League this season and will face Spanish side Sevilla at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Julen Lopetegui’s side, who have done well this season and have beaten both AS Roma and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last matches in the competition. United will have a tough match on their hands.

United and Sevilla have met twice in European competition, playing in the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League during the 2017/18 season, in which they qualified for the completion by lifting the Europa League at the end of the 2016/17 season, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final. It was a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Sevilla followed by a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester, which resulted in United exiting from the competition. United will need to do much better.

Both United and Sevilla have good records in the UEFA Europa League with the Spanish club winning the competition five times in the past 15 years, winning back to back titles on the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons then winning three in a row in the 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 seasons. Sevilla have made the semi-final stage five times, winning all of them and all five finals. United have reached one semi-final and final, winning both in the 2016/17 season. One of the club will lose their 100% record on Sunday evening in Cologne.

Form: United and Sevilla are both in good form; Sevilla are on a 19-match unbeaten run with United defeated just once in 24 matches.

Manchester United: WWDLWD

FC Copenhagen 1-0 W, Linzer ASK 2-1 W, Leicester City 2-0 W, West Ham United 1-1 D, Chelsea 3-1 L, Crystal Palace 2-0 W

Sevilla: WWWDWW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, AS Roma 2-0 W, Valencia 1-0 W, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Mallorca 2-0 W, Athletic Club 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Sevilla have scored 71 goals this season with Anthony Martial (23), Marcus Rashford (22) and Mason Greenwood (17) scoring 62 goals between them. United to outscore their opposition?

Manchester United Goals: 23 – Anthony Martial, 22 – Marcus Rashford, 17 – Mason Greenwood, 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have 90 minutes of football standing between them and a second UEFA Europa League final in three years. The club has one defeat in their last 24 matches, which is a great record for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United and they will be seeking to extend that to one defeat in 25 matches. Normally playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, United will need to get the better of this Sevilla side from the start of the match to get revenge for that last match, which was a completely different United team, but revenge will still be needed. United should go all out to win.

Sevilla Goals: 15 – Lucas Ocampos, 10 – Munir El Haddadi, 6 – Luuk de Jong, Youssef En-Nesyri, 5 – Franco Vázquez, 4 – Óliver Torres, 3 – Éver Banega, Sergio Reguilón, Munas Dabbur, Nolito, Javier Hernández, 2 – Fernando, Joan Jordán, Diego Carlos, 1 – Bryan Gil, Suso, Sergio Escudero, Jules Koundé

Sevilla are unbeaten in their last 19 matches and seem to be hitting form at the right time, which could see them reach the final of the UEFA Europa League this season, should they beat United. Sevilla showed patience in breaking down Wolves earlier this week, scoring very late in the game and taking the spoils. United waited late against Copenhagen too. Sevilla play in a 4-3-3 formation, which United will have to break with Éver Banega one of the players that they need to shut down.

Team News: United and Sevilla ready for battle on Sunday evening? Three injuries for United, none for Sevilla. Solskjaer to reign supreme in Cologne?

United look set to continue without Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe for the match against Sevilla and do not seem to have suffered any more injuries from the 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen on Monday, which is good news. Assistant manager Mike Phelan speaking to the official Manchester United website about this match against Seville being like a proper European fixture, said:

“Yes, it sounds European! [Smiles] We know how Sevilla operate, they’re a very good outfit with very good technical players and great possession of the ball which they showed against Wolves in the last game. They’re a team to be reckoned with, both in their own domestic league and in Europe but particularly in this cup, they have some history in it. I think it’s two football teams going head-to-head in what could be a really good semi-final.”

Sevilla do not seem to have any injury or suspension concerns ahead of the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League when they take on United on Sunday evening. They will be looking forward to the match and a possible sixth final in the competition, which would be a great achievement for them. Speaking about United and how well they have done domestically this season to the official UEFA Europa League website, Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui said:

“[United haven’t] lost a Premier League game since January, so they’re obviously a top team with great strength, but these are the semi-finals of the Europa League, and the only thing that will help us through any difficulty or situation that we come across at this high level is ambition, excitement and the desire to compete, with the aim of overcoming a great opponent. We’re all delighted with the team’s work, discipline, responsibility and ambition throughout the year. That’s how we want to be.”

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to hit Sevilla with his strongest team, hoping to play to their advantages and knock the Spanish side from the competition ensuring no European trophies head to Spain this year.

Against FC Copenhagen, Solskjaer did not put out his strongest outfield team, opting for Fred instead of Nemanja Matic, presumably keeping the Serbian as fresh as he could for the semi-final and beyond. The Norwegian got the better of his compatriot Ståle Solbakken on Monday evening, needing extra time to get the better of the Danish opposition. United will need to be firing on all cylinders to beat this Spanish side who seem to be full of confidence.

Match Prediction: United did not do too well against Sevilla the last time they met enduring a lacklustre 0-0 draw followed by a 2-1 defeat. United will be seeking revenge and a place in the Europa League final.

United and Sevilla have met twice before, playing in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League in the 2017/18 season. On the 21 February 2018, it was a 0-0 draw in Seville with United failing to score an away goal, which was bad news for Jose Mourinho’s side. Three weeks later at Old Trafford, the Spanish side won 2-1 with Wassim Ben Yedder scoring a brace in the 74th and 78th minute with Romelu Lukaku scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute of the match, exiting the competition.

Sevilla have played many times against English opposition; beating Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week. They have faced Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leicester City in the past five years and further back have faced Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers. United have played many teams from Spain including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, and Athletic Club in the past decade with a few more clubs from Spain going back further in time.

Sevilla 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Alexis Sanchez shone against Real Madrid; Ander Herrera and Juan Mata also contenders

Manchester United beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Alexis Sanchez opened up the scoring, assisted by Matteo Darmian and Ander Herrera, assisted by Sanchez doubled the lead. Karim Benzema got a goal back at the end of the first half. Real Madrid asked plenty of questions of United’s defence, passing the test.

Sanchez was the Man of the Match for me. A goal and an assist. His pace, added to his athleticism, physicality and the fact he’s had a break this summer could put him into the zone when the new season starts. It looks like he could be leading the line with Romelu Lukaku still on holiday and Anthony Martial, for want of a better description, AWOL. It was a good test against Real Madrid, who played plenty of youth throughout the game.

Ander Herrera’s goal, putting United 2-0 up came after some good play by the Spaniard. Sanchez made the assist after Juan Mata started the attack from the right flank. Sanchez’s vision saw Herrera in a better position, laying the ball on the him, putting United 2-0 up and cruising at the time. Karim Benzema scored a consolation in added time at the end of the first half of the game.

United will be heading back to Manchester through the night, ready for their next game against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Sunday evening. The tour was not the best for the American supporters, which is because of the FIFA World Cup. United were missing 14 first team players ahead of this match, and considering the result, the weakened side did very well, especially only losing once at the hands of Liverpool.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Played 90 minutes. Had very little to do in the first half of the game, the only decent chance was Benzema's in the early stages of the half. Good to see him back and ready to start the new season next week. Conceded in stoppage time with Benzema getting Real Madrid back into the game. Put in a few saves in the second half.

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3 Eric Bailly

Had a good game defensively, captaining the team against Madrid. Put in a tremendous block, taking one for the team, which brought tears to my eyes. Held firm in the second half with the Spanish side asking plenty of questions of United's defence.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Put in a good shift in defence. Had everything covered for the majority of the first half, however, United conceded in stoppage time. Played well in the second half with Real Madrid pressuring United's defence.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played in a three-man defence, which was a surprise. Many suggest he could be a defender in the future. Put in a few fine tackles. Mourinho could have started something here. Moved to the midfield late in the game before being replaced by Mitchell after seemingly suffering a knock.

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Matteo Darmian

Had a good game playing as the right-wing-back. Assisted for United first goal in the game, scored by Sanchez in the 18th minute of the match.

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Andreas Pereira

Having the Belgian-born Brazilian back at the club this season gives a new-found depth to the midfield. Playing in the number six role, filling in well, considering he has played more of a wing position for much of his career, so far at least.

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17 Fred

Started his first game for United, which is good news ahead of the new season. Played well in the first half as he is finding his feet. Did not seem out of place. However, his lack of fitness showed signs in the second half. The Brazilian was replaced by Tuanzebe in the 68th minute.

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23 Luke Shaw

Had some involvement in the left-wing-back position. Got forward a few times. Won United a corner later in the second half.

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21 Ander Herrera

Scored United's second goal of the evening after Mata broke forward, passed to Sanchez in the box who set the Spaniard up for the doubler over Madrid.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish attacking midfielder has been in some good form during pre-season. Set up United's second goal, finding Sanchez after breaking forward, which was then player to Herrera, who scored the second goal. Mata did well in the second half and was replaced in the 82nd minute by Garner.

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Alexis Sanchez

Opened the scoring against for United, assisted by Darmian in the 18th minute of the game, playing as the striker once again. Got an assist in Herrera's goal, having the ball played from Mata and thinking ahead to fine Herrera, who found the back of the net.

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Substitutes

38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Fred 68'. Put in a shift to keep Real Madrid at bay in the second half, with them in effect camping in United's final third.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

Replaced McTominay 79'. Got involved in the match and helped Sanchez during the few attacks with Real Madrid controlling the game in the second half.

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James Garner

Replaced Mata 82'. Had an eight minute cameo. Did well against the Champions League holders. Will be pleased to get involved in the game.

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Goals: Alexis Sanchez 18′, Ander Herrera 27′

Assists: Matteo Darmian 18′, Alexis Sanchez 27′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw; Fred (Tuanzebe 68′), A. Pereira, Herrera; Mata (Garner 82′), Sanchez, McTominay (Mitchell 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant, J. Pereira; Williams; Hamilton, Gomes; Chong, Bohui, Greenwood

Report: Manchester United 2-1 Real Madrid – International Champions Cup

Manchester United beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Alexis Sanchez opened up the scoring, assisted by Matteo Darmian and Ander Herrera, assisted by Sanchez doubled the lead. Karim Benzema got a goal back at the end of the first half. Real Madrid asked plenty of questions of United’s defence, passing the test.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the defeat to Liverpool. David De Gea made his first appearance for the club this summer and Fred made his first start as a United player. Luke Shaw returned after being an unused substitute against Liverpool with Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez continuing as the experienced forwards. This was Real Madrid’s first pre-season match this summer.

As the match started, United’s formation had changed from what was expected. McTominay was slotted into the centre of defence with Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah alongside him. United created something through Sanchez in the third minute of the match. However, Jesus Vallejo was left behind by the Chilean in midfield and he hauled Sanchez to the ground, winning a free-kick for United.

Two minutes later, United had another chance after Matteo Darmian passed the ball across the pitch, finding Sanchez, who cut inside on his right, floating a great ball into Mata, who messed up his shot and hit the side netting. Real Madrid had an equally good opportunity to open the scoring in the eighth minute of the match through Karim Benzema. In the ninth minute, Fred won a free-kick in his own half of the pitch.

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Just inside the 11th minute of the game, after some good interplay between Sanchez and Mata, the Spaniard had another shot on goal, which was saved by Kiko Casilla. After the early stages of the game, which saw both teams creates chances and goalscoring opportunities, Madrid started to take control of the game in the 13th minute with long spells of possession. Mata won a free-kick in the 16th minute after being fouled.

Andreas Pereira pinged a log diagonal cross into Shaw on the left flank but the left-back was adjudged to be offside. Real Madrid started to aim to take control again, United took the lead in the 18th minute of the match through Sanchez, assisted by Darmian with a great cross from the right. It was a good show of attacking ability by United, taking their chance against Madrid, the third in the game so far, for United anyway.

In the 24th minute of the game, Real Madrid had their second chance with Gareth Bale in the box, after starting the attack, not getting on the end of the cross properly, putting the ball out for a United goal kick. United, at the other end of the pitch, had another chance to create something, Shaw on the ball and Sanchez shouting for the pass, but Shaw taking the shot, hitting his man and the ball going out or play.

United doubled their lead in the 27th minute of the match, going 2-0 up. Ander Herrera was the goalscorer after Mata broke forward, tried to play the ball into Sanchez, who headed it backward for Herrera to gather the ball and fire United with the advantage. The media won’t like this at all, but then again, they will find something else to keep their negativity running ahead of the Premier League starting next week. Bless them.

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Madrid had an opportunity to get themselves back into the game in the 29th minute but United gathered the ball in the box the thwarted the opportunity. Vinicius Jr looks like a good talent for Madrid, he was trying to get something from the game for his club on his debut. Just before the 31st minute of the game was over, a water break was called with both teams taking advantage of team talks from the respective managers.

After the water break, United were looking to continue where the game ended, heading into the final ten minutes of the half. Madrid regained possession and looked to get forward to find a goal to put them back into the game. Sanchez won another free-kick for United, inside his own half after a foul. United were playing short passes to advance. A poor pass by Bailly gave Madrid a throw in.

Real Madrid had another chance in the closing stages of the half but United thwarted the chance, breaking down possession inside the box. The UEFA Champions League holders then got in an advanced position again, seeking a goal, with Bailly putting himself in to block a chance, taking one for the team and giving Madrid a corner, which came to nothing.

United won a corner in the last minute of normal time in the first half, taking advantage of a sloppy back pass, putting a cross into the box and the Real Madrid defender putting the ball out of play. Herrera was in the box, aiming to get something from the corner, his shot on goal blocked with Real Madrid back out on the attack. Real Madrid got a goal back in stoppage time through Benzema. 2-1 at the break.

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Mourinho made no changes at the start of the second half, with Real Madrid making four. Pereira and Fred seemed to be playing well at the start of the second half, showing great composure and control under pressure from Madrid, getting United out of a situation that could have been troublesome. Real Madrid has a chance in the 51st minute after Fred lost possession, which came to nothing.

Ten minutes into the second half, United seemed to drop back, inviting pressure from Real Madrid. Mourinho has a lack of experienced options on the bench and it could be a sign of fatigue in the Miami heat. Real Madrid seemed Mohave taken control of the game by the 57th minute and Martin Odegaard had a sublime change to level the score, firing over the crossbar.

In the 61st minute, Madrid made two more changes, United still not making any. Sanchez won a free-kick for United in the 64th minute after a poor challenge with United dealing with a lot of pressure in their own half. Mourinho made a substitution in the 68th minute of the match with Axel Tuanzebe replacing Fred. McTominay moved forward back into the midfield.

With 20 minutes remaining, Sanchez released Shaw into space on the left but Shaw’s ball was poorly placed into the box and Mata, awaiting the pass in the box had little chance to receive it. Real Madrid has plenty of possession in United’s final third. Shaw nearly gave away a penalty, a free-kick being awarded at the edge of the box, on United’s left. Odegaard went for goal, De Gea punching the ball away.

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There was another water break with 15 minutes of the match remaining. Real Madrid made further changes, introducing Toni Kroos, Nacho, Isco and Marco Asensio. McTominay could not finish the game, seemingly after a knock Mourinho opting to replace him with Demetri Mitchell. Real Madrid had a chance in the 81st minute but the ball flashed across the face of the goal. Another second later was kept out by De Gea.

Mourinho brought on 17-year-old James Garner for Mata in the 82nd minute of the match. There was 64,141 inside the Hard Rock Stadium for this game. Not quote the levels of Old Trafford but not a bad crowd, considering the negativity surrounding the squad this summer. Perhaps most people ignore the media too? I guess that is probably the best way.

United seemed to be hanging on with five minutes remaining. Real Madrid were pressuring in the final third. Fosu-Mensah seemed able to keep closing down his opposition, playing a good defensive game against this Madrid side. Real Madrid won a free-kick after Pereira fouled his man, not that he was in agreement with the referee. Sanchez was still putting in the effort this late in the game. A true athlete.

Real Madrid won another free-kick as Isco went down on the right flank after a Darmian challenge. United defended well, giving away a corner in the last minute of the match. Kroos took the corner, which was not a great set-piece. Three minutes of stoppage time was added at the end of the match. Real Madrid were still asking questions of United’s defence.

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Madrid won another free-kick, this time further back after Herrera’s foul. Madrid won another corner with 80 second remaining, De Gea collecting the ball, seemingly taking his time to play it. Real Madrid had a shot in the last 15 seconds, De Gea collecting the ball. United ended their pre-season tour on a high beating Real Madrid.

The squad will fly back to Manchester through the night days ahead of their final pre-season match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Sunday evening. Mourinho will be relieved that his side ended with a victory in normal time. Perhaps in the coming days, some business will be conducted and United can continue their preparations for the new season.

Goals: Alexis Sanchez 18′, Ander Herrera 27′

Assists: Matteo Darmian 18′, Alexis Sanchez 27′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw; Fred (Tuanzebe 68′), A. Pereira, Herrera; Mata (Garner 82′), Sanchez, McTominay (Mitchell 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant, J. Pereira; Williams; Hamilton, Gomes; Chong, Bohui, Greenwood

Confirmed Starting XI: Manchester United v Real Madrid – International Champions Cup

Manchester United face Real Madrid at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in their final International Champions Cup match in the United States of America. Of the four matches played so far this summer, United have drawn 1-1 against Club America, 0-0 against San Jose Earthquakes, a 9-8 victory on penalties against AC Milan, after a 1-1 draw and a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool.

It may not have been the best pre-season tour but considering the number of players missing from the squad because of injury and their involvement in the FIFA World Cup this summer, it was all to be expected. The younger players will be thankful for the experience, which could see them strive to make the first team in the coming year or two. They will be a lot better in their development facing the likes of AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw;

Fred, A. Pereira, Herrera;

Mata, Sanchez, McTominay

Substitutes:

Grant, J. Pereira; Tuanzebe, Williams, Mitchell; Garner, Hamilton, Gomes; Chong, Bohui, Greenwood

United have one more pre-season match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Sunday, five days ahead of the Premier League opener against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday 10 August 2018, a day after the closure of the summer transfer window. United face Real Madrid last August in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia, losing 2-1.

Jose Mourinho may have something in the bag this summer regarding transfers, he certainly has journalists and the media gunning for him and United, which, going back to the past, means that he is doing something right. Manchester United will always be hated, adored, and never ignored. The only frustrating aspect is the fact some so-called supporters seem to have been turned by the media, but that is no real loss.

copyright: JW