Manchester United's pre-season preparations continued with a hard-fought, yet entertaining goalless draw with Valerenga in Norway.
Nemanja Vidic completed an hour's action in his first outing since last December, while several more senior players returned after a summer's exertions on the international stage. One of them, the lively Danny Welbeck, had the majority of United's clearer openings, but either failed to hit the target or met with the resistance of impressive Valerenga goalkeeper Gudmund Kongshavn. Substitutes Anderson and Chicharito both came close to nabbing late winners, while a half-hour cameo from Shinji Kagawa demonstrated the Japanese star's burgeoning understanding with his new attacking cohorts.
Assistant manager Mike Phelan took the helm in the absence of Sir Alex Ferguson, who remained in Manchester, and the stand-in gaffer was dealt a late selection dilemma when Patrice Evra returned home on Sunday morning to rejoin his wife, who had gone into labour. The result was an unexpected start for reigning Reserves Player of the Year, Michael Keane, at left-back. On the opposite flank, Antonio Valencia deputised while Nani slotted into the right wing berth ahead of the Ecuadorian. The Portuguese was one of four players making their first pre-season outing after partaking in the Euro 2012 - alongside Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young - while Phil Jones and David De Gea started on the bench.
It took until the 18th minute for the game's first noteworthy attempt, as Bojan Zajic flashed a 20-yard effort across Anders Lindegaard's goal, but the majority of the game had been spent in Valerenga's defensive third, with Danny Welbeck and Nani frequently involved, while Paul Scholes' metronomic passing dominated a game being conducted at three-quarter pace in the Norwegian sunshine.
Increasingly, United's attackers began to chance their arm. Young and Scholes had shots blocked and Rooney's free-kick struck the top of the wall, but the hosts' massed central defensive ranks proved