United enjoyed another energetic pre-season workout as Lee Martin’s first-half goal gave the Reds a comfortable Vodacom Challenge win over Orlando Pirates.
In a second competitive game in South Africa, an athletic Pirates side made some feisty challenges but lacked the penetrative edge of their rivals Kaizer Chiefs, with Reds goalkeeper Ben Foster largely a spectator.
Midfielder Martin scored the winner in the 23rd minute, poking the ball home inside the box after running onto a Fraizer Campbell flick-on.
Sir Alex Ferguson made plenty of changes to his side, with youngsters Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, Campbell and Martin handed starts in front of 50,000 noisy fans in Durban.
Carlos Tevez had the game’s first chance in the seventh minute, his low shot from the edge of the box drawing a smart save from Senzo Meyiwa.
Meyiwa was called into action again three minutes later to deny Martin, while Carrick saw a sweetly-struck volley deflected wide as United dominated early on.
Fraizer Campbell’s pace was causing problems for the Pirates defence and the young striker was involved in the opener, heading the ball on to Martin, who shrugged off Happy Jele and finished smartly past Meyiwa.
Centre-backs Rio Ferdinand, fully recovered from a back spasm, and Evans had little trouble dealing with the Bucs’ enthusiastic but largely toothless attack.