27/07/2007 15:07, Report by Nick Coppack
Report: Guangzhou 0 United 3
United's pre-season tour of Asia ended with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Guangzhou Pharmaceutical in the Guangdong Olympic Stadium, with strikes from Wayne Rooney, Nani and Lee Martin.
Injuries to Ryan Giggs, Edwin van der Sar, Owen Hargreaves and Cristiano Ronaldo meant Sir Alex was able to hand Lee Martin and Tomasz Kuszczak their first pre-season starts, while youngsters Phil Bardsley, Danny Simpson and Darron Gibson also gained starting berths.
Dong Fangzhuo fulfilled his dream of starting for United in his home country and was cheered throughout. But it was a frustrating run-out for the China international, who so desperately wanted to find the back of the net. The game's first chance fell to Dong, when Martin's low ball flashed across the goalmouth. Dong was unable to make a connection on that opportunity but did go closer on 15 minutes when he headed wide.
The home team showed little ambition going forward, content instead to try and soak up the pressure. It was a risky tactic and the Reds made Guangzhou pay on 20 minutes when Michael Carrick was chopped down inside the penalty area. Guangzhuo weren't happy with the referee's decision to award a penalty – he'd initially signalled for a free-kick just outside the box – but Rooney ignored the protests to blast home from 12 yards.
The Reds scored three in 15 minutes against FC Seoul and three in 11 minutes in Macau, but there was no goal rush this time. United struggled to penetrate Guangzhou's defensive line, although the home side's negative tactics didn't help matters.
The first real chance from open play arrived in the 41st minute when a Michael Carrick cross was touched onto the woodwork by a Guangzhou defender. It was a timely intervention since Rooney was lurking at the back post and would surely have buried the chance. As it was, the ball bounced back into play and Rooney was penalised for