Sunday, July 21, 2013

Getting Fit: Manchester United 5 - Australian League All-Stars 1

David Moyes mixed up the lineup for his second game in charge of Manchester United, swapping six starters from a week ago, although its doubtful that the 85,000 Aussies in attendance at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night noticed much. Staring Lindegaard, Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Giggs, Carrick, Cleverley, Lingard, Zaha, and Welbeck, United faced a lineup of off-season A-League All-Stars in much cooler conditions than in their prior outing, thanks to the mild Sydney winter evening.  

In stark contrast to the torpid performance turned in last weekend, it took leas than 12 minutes for Jesse Lingard to score the first goal of the Moyes era and set United on their way.  When Danny Welbeck tucked away a second on 35 minutes it capped off a half that was dominated by the visitors. Showing considerably more fluidity, speed and decisiveness in front of net, the English champions knocked the ball around with a high degree of confidence -- and few more so than the youngster looking for a call up from the reserve squad, Lingard. 

Although the home side pulled a goal back within ten minutes of the restart, young Lingard saw to it that the Aussies were never truly in the game as he ripped a corker past the ANZ goalkeeper to quickly re-establish the two goal advantage. Welbeck glanced in his second from a Robin Van Persie corner to extend the lead, before RVP added the fifth -- right footed at that -- to round out the evening's scoreline. 

Although the Reds cantered to their 5-1 triumph, the margin of victory could easily have been doubled if the team had taken all of its chances. Fitness levels continue to improve as the team's training sessions take their effect, and confidence is on the upswing, as well. The Reds leave Australia on Sunday -- and though their summer transfer business may be rather unsettled, the squad had to be in much better spirits departing Oz than they were upon their arrival. 

This is farlieonfootie for July 21. 

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