Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Youth is Served: Manchester United 5 - Kitchee FC 2

photo by j / f / photosvia PhotoRee

With the pitch in diabolical shape after repeated drenchings from torrential rain, Manchester United played five-time Hong Kong League champion Kitchee FC in a game Monday night that was played solely on account of the English Champion's global commercial obligations. Facing the dual task of beating their easily outgunned opponent while trying mightily not to get injured, United used a youthful squad to dominate the proceedings, scoring three goals in just ten minutes of the first half to rip the contest wide open in the early going.

After Anderson fired wide of the post from 18 yards to offer a preview of things to come, Ashley Young hit the post and left Danny Welbeck with a relatively routine rebound to hand his side the lead after only 15 minutes had elapsed from the game clock. Chris Smalling rose highest to head home Tom Cleverley's cross and double the visitor's advantage just seven minutes later, before Fabio took Wilfried Zaha's imaginative feed and bent the ball beyond the outstretched arm of the beleaguered Kitchee goalkeeper to put the outcome beyond doubt.  Only the final margin of victory remained uncertain at the break.

Adnan Januzaj scored less than five minutes after the restart, steering Alexander Buttner's cross into the net and stretching the visitors' advantage to four, but it was at that point in the contest that the home side finally woke up. Kitchee pulled the first goal back with the best effort from either side on the evening, with Lam Ka Wak firing just past the fingertips of a leaping Ben Amos with a strike that brought fans of both sides to their feet.

Alex Alcande added a second for the home side in the 69th minute, beating three United defenders in a move that will not likely feature prominently on United's season-ending highlight film, as the advantage was reduced to two. Not to be outdone, Jesse Lingard beat four defenders at the other end of the pitch with ten minutes remaining to create the final margin of victory on the last game in the Reds'  semi-successful tour of Asia.  Although the scoreline showed this United squad capable of racking up a number of goals, it will be youngsters on the squad who caught the eye the most.  With all of the evening's goals being scored by players under the age of 25, last night's game may have offered a glimpse of things to come at Old Trafford in this season and for many beyond.

This is farlieonfootie for July 31.


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