United were too classy for Kaizer Chiefs in the Vodacom Challenge final, as the Reds cruised to a 4-0 victory.
Goals from Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley and Fraizer Campbell settled a game in which the Reds only fully took control in the second half.
The Chiefs set much of the early pace, as the English champions took time to find their groove. The heat and altitude in Pretoria may have played its part, likewise United’s unfamiliar team selection.
That was understandable, however. With the Reds due to face Portsmouth in Nigeria little more than 24 hours after this clash, Sir Alex called on the club’s youth. Youngsters Craig Cathcart and Rodrigo Possebon (both yet to make competitive first-team appearances) both started, as did Danny Simpson and Lee Martin.
Possebon’s first two touches oozed confidence and class, as the young Brazilian slotted easily into his central midfield role. Later, when he sprayed a pass 40 yards out to Martin on the left wing, it was just like watching Paul Scholes.
But it was the familiar face of Wayne Rooney who engineered the game’s first spark. Collecting the ball on the right side of the Chiefs’ box, Rooney shaped to blast the ball goalwards. Instead, he orchestrated a cheeky chip that had goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune scrambling back towards goal before breathing a sigh of relief as the ball dropped onto the roof of the net.
As was the case in Cape Town last Saturday, Kaizer Chiefs weren’t intimidated by United. Tricky winger Siphiwe Tshabalala was particularly direct, running at Simpson at every opportunity. Tshabalala, in his bright red boots and dreadlocked hair, makes Chief tick. Speedy and skilful, he also possesses an assured first touch and exquisite vision.