United made it three wins out of three in the toughest test of the Asia Tour so far, beating FC Seoul 3-2 with goals from Wayne Rooney, Federico Macheda and Dimitar Berbatov, while Ji-sung Park was warmly received on his homecoming.
The 64,000 capacity Korean crowd had been baying for an appearance from their hero since he first emerged for the warm-up, but they would have to wait for a fifteen-minute cameo late on as the midfielder was named on a ten-man bench.
Another United player looking to make his mark was Federico Macheda, handed his second consecutive start on this Asia Tour, which suggests the 17-year-old may feature prominently this season. Indeed, pre-match, Sir Alex described him as a “hero in the making”. And Macheda was the creator of United’s first real opening. Charging down the left channel, he cut inside and squared his pass to Ryan Giggs, but the Welshman miscalculated his volley and swung an air-shot with his right boot.
At the other end Tomasz Kuszczak needed to be alert to deal with a few early attempts on goal from the home side, efforts which he dealt with admirably.
Any time the stadium’s big screens showed Park sat studiously on the bench, the Seoul crowd leapt up in rapturous applause as if they’d just witnessed a goal. And that’s exactly what they saw after 24 minutes, although it didn’t go the way even the most optimistic locals would have predicted.
A beautifully flighted pass over the top caught United’s defence cold, and the dangerous Dejan Damjanovic stole in and poked the ball past Kuszczak to give FC Seoul the lead.
It didn’t take long for United to restore parity, however, and there was little surprise over who scored it. Rooney had shown some nice touches in any forays forward and he was perfectly placed to head home John O’Shea’s curling cross.