Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in a reduced penalty shoot-out, following 90 minutes of stalemate at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden.
A second successive goalless draw on the DHL tour was due largely to two goalkeepers. Victor Valdes saved Wayne Rooney's penalty in first-half stoppage time while David De Gea was in outstanding form against his fellow countrymen in his first appearance for the Reds this pre-season.
Barcelona were dominant in terms of possession from the first whistle with De Gea forced into action to thwart Andres Iniesta inside the opening minute. Lionel Messi was inches away from converting a majestic lofted pass by Iniesta moments later and the Argentinian maestro provided Cristian Tello with a decent opening that was sliced wastefully wide.
After weathering the early storm, the Reds started to respond but Rooney and Nani's attempts failed to trouble Valdes following passes from right-back Antonio Valencia and Paul Scholes respectively. Scholes patrolled midfield with his usual swagger but Messi remained the biggest threat on the pitch as he forced De Gea into a splendid fingertip save following a menacing run forward.
Some sublime skill by Nani had the packed Ullevi crowd on its feet while a lunging foul on Sergio Busquets by Scholes divided opinion, with the United fans jeering the Spaniard for his reaction and the Barca supporters unhappy with the Reds veteran. Referee Martin Balko called it right when he produced the yellow card for the challenge.
Youngster Tello caused problems on the left with one cross hammered behind his own goal by Rio Ferdinand and another centre prompting a fine block by De Gea as Messi pounced, although the offside flag was raised in any case. Yet United finished the first half strongly, with Danny