Nani was the star of the show in Northern Ireland as United beat Glentoran 3-0 at The Oval on Wednesday night, dazzling with his skill, impressing with his tireless work-rate and scoring the best goal on the night.
The 20-year-old completed the full 90 minutes and looks ready for the start of the new season. He scored United’s third, adding to goals from Fraizer Campbell and Patrice Evra.
With Sir Alex Ferguson absent as he moves house (it seems strange even writing that), Carlos Queiroz took charge of the team in Belfast, where United were afforded a warm welcome, with more red shirts than green among the 14,000-strong crowd, and the offer of the home dressing room at The Oval.
All eyes were on United’s young signings Nani and Anderson as the match kicked off, but it was two other youthful starlets that engineered an early breakthrough.
Livewire winger Lee Martin had already proved a persistent nuisance down the left flank in the first four minutes. He showed determination to win back possession in the penalty area, skill and pace to beat his marker and awareness to pick out young striker Campbell, whose acrobatic volley from close range gave Glentoran goalkeeper Michael Dougherty no chance.
United’s slick movement brought a second goal after thirteen minutes, this time from a speedy counterattack. Nani, Anderson and Campbell all played their part in a swift move that finished up with Evra cracking a low shot into the bottom right corner.
Nani’s pace was ever threatening and, once he had settled, Anderson too showed some neat touches in his role as a deep-lying striker. He went close with a low shot on the 16-minute mark, then teed-up a Campbell volley with a clever one-two on the edge of the area.