The Reds signed off from the first leg of Tour 2013 presented by Aon with a highly entertaining 5-2 victory over Kitchee at the Hong Kong Stadium on Monday.
In front of a sell-out crowd, goals from Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling, Fabio and substitutes Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard sealed the win, although the Reds were well tested by the Hong Kong side, particularly after the break.
The pitch had taken something of a beating in the days leading up to the game following a prolonged period of torrential rain in the city and the staging of four Barclays Asia Trophy matches involving Sunderland, Manchester City, Tottenham and South China. Much of the centre of the pitch was covered in sand, while both goal-mouths began cutting up from the first minute.
For his final line-up on this leg of the tour, David Moyes opted to pair Chris Smalling and Michael Keane in the centre of defence, with Fabio and Patrice Evra on either flank. In front of them lay a three-man midfield of Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Michael Carrick with Wilfried Zaha and Ashley Young supporting lone-striker Danny Welbeck on each wing.
Much of United’s early penetration came down the right where the lively Zaha once again impressed. It took the Reds until the 15th-minute to carve out the first real sight of goal with Anderson striking a 20-yard effort just wide, but 60 seconds later David Moyes’ side were ahead. Carrick’s lovely pass over the top found Young down the left and after the winger’s deflected effort had crashed against the goalkeeper’s right-hand post, Welbeck was on hand to lash the rebound home from close-range.
Zaha should have doubled the advantage three minutes later when he was found by Welbeck’s pin-point right-wing cross. But after doing the hard work of bringing the ball down and turning the defender, the 20-year-old blasted over from eight yards.
A frantic few minutes followed thereafter with Kitchee’s Juan Belencoso firing over the bar at the other end and Young, after being picked out by Evra, seeing his close-range effort blocked when a goal looked the only outcome. A