Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played 25 minutes in his testimonial, as United beat Catalan side Espanyol 1-0 thanks to a goal from Fraizer Campbell.
That the youngster left it until the 82nd minute to seal the victory was ironic given Solskjaer’s penchant for late winners, as was the calm Campbell exuded in dinking the ball over goalkeeper Alvarez Cristian.
Ole, now 35, looked sharp during his time on the pitch and you can’t help but wonder what role he would have played in the 2008 European Cup final had injury not forced him to retire in August 2007. Against Espanyol he proved he still has the smarts to play at the top level.
Of course, the score on Saturday was always going to take a backseat to Solskjaer on his special day. The Norwegian, who scored 126 goals during his Old Trafford career, emerged last out of the tunnel to walk with his children through a guard of honour formed by the two teams.
Presentations of gifts followed before the match kicked off, the Reds attacking the Scoreboard End. Solskjaer didn’t start – instead he would come off the bench, as he did 150 times for United.
The match began at a sharp pace, with Espanyol winning two quick corners before the Reds clicked into gear. Carlos Tevez was his usual busy self, harrying defenders and keen to get touches on the ball. Nani, making his first pre-season appearance, almost sent the Argentine clear on 14 minutes with a delightful clip over the Espanyol defence.
Nani should have opened the scoring five minutes later when Paul Scholes’ cheeky chip bounced off the post and into his path. He only needed to hit the target, but pulled his shot wide of the right-hand upright. Fletcher and