Juan Mata scores a penalty against Kristiansund.

Mata keeps United's winning run going in Oslo

Tuesday 30 July 2019 15:49

Manchester United made it five wins out of five in the pre-season campaign with a 1-0 friendly victory against Kristiansund in Oslo.

Juan Mata scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time, from the penalty spot, to end the Norwegians' dogged resistance and Reds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's son Noah came off the bench for Kristiansund in the second half.

The manager made six changes to the XI that started against Tottenham, with Anthony Martial operating down the middle with Marcus Rashford heavily involved, cutting in from the left flank. He changed his entire line-up on the hour mark to ensure more minutes in the tank for most of the squad.


Scott McTominay was an influential performer in midfield for the Reds.

United took a short while to get into the groove but soon became utterly dominant, creating wave after wave of attacks on Sean McDermott's goal. Phil Jones came up from the back to get in the thick of things, even attempting an overhead kick, and was unlucky when a header struck defender Christophe Psyche and deflected through to McDermott.

The chances came thick and fast as Jesse Lingard curled narrowly off target after a one-two with Nemanja Matic and dropped a lob onto the top of the net from another pass by the Serbian. McDermott caught the eye with some impressive stops, diving to thwart Martial and Rashford, who produced a powerful free-kick. Bendik Bye fired a rare opening for the Norwegians over the top, as Kristiansund launched sporadic counter-attacks, but the pattern of the game continued until the interval.

Scott McTominay looked a man on a mission to find the net, as he did against Valerenga two years ago, but thumped a drive over the top, lashed an effort across goal and, three minutes before the break, fizzed a Daniel James pass against the inside of a post from a difficult angle.

That was the closest United came to scoring in the opening half but McDermott made other saves to deny Rashford and Lingard, who just lacked the finishing touch when in extremely promising positions inside the box.

Kristiansund shuffled their pack at half-time and substitute keeper Serigne Mbaye appeared just as capable as McDermott, keeping out an early tester from Rashford moments after the restart.

A gilt-edged opportunity to hand the Scandinavians a shock lead was spurned by Sondre Sorli, in the 51st minute when he was left unmarked inside the six-yard box but directed his header wide. After Mbaye made a routine stop to frustrate James, he pulled one out of the top drawer to leap to his left and push away a stunning Rashford strike with his left hand.

The whole XI was changed on the hour mark by Ole but the relentless pursuit of a goal continued unabated. Mbaye's awkward stop was enough to repel Tahith Chong's effort and Mason Greenwood had an attempt deflect wide. Axel Tuanzebe came up from centre-back but did not connect properly with a couple of headers from set-pieces, while Greenwood could only find the side-netting when working an opening on his right foot, from an Andreas Pereira pass.

Fred's curler from the edge of the area just failed to bend in enough and Greenwood swept off target after exchanging passes with Mata, as Kristiansund stood firm, despite the intense pressure.

Daniel James was frustrated as the Reds were forced to leave it late in the Norwegian capital.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Chong forced Mbaye into a couple more saves and Noah Solskjaer's fellow teenager Max Williamsen made an impact with a last-ditch challenge on Paul Pogba, when he tried to get on the end of Mata's delivery into the danger area.

Pogba attempted to take control of proceedings as the clock ticked on, whipping a shot wide, and then, in the dying seconds, supplying a superbly timed through ball for Mata to round another substitute keeper, Andreas Vaikla, and earn a penalty as the stopper tried to halt him. 

Mata took on the responsibility and stroked home to grab a late winner, in the club's best traditions, at the end of another valuable work-out.

Marcus Rashford worked hard going forwards in a bid to break the deadlock.


United: De Gea (c) (Romero 60); Wan-Bissaka (Dalot 60), Jones (Tuanzebe 60), Lindelof (Rojo 60), Shaw (Young 60); Matic (Pogba 60), McTominay (Fred 60); James (Andreas 60), Lingard (Mata 60), Martial (Chong 60); Rashford (Greenwood 60).

Subs not used: Smalling, Gomes.

Kristiansund: McDermott (Mbaye 46 (Vaikla 86)); Coly (Williamson 87), D.Ulvestad (Sormo 46), Psyche (Gjesdal 66), Aasbak (Sivertsen 46); Cirak (Isaksen 66), Diop (P. Ulvestad 75), Kalludra (Sorli 46); Bye (Hoven 66), Kastrati (Amang 46 Solskjaer 86)), Gjertesen (Olsen 66). 

Subs not used: Diatta.

Scorer: Mata 92 (pen)

Watch United's final match of the pre-season campaign, the International Champions Cup tie with AC Milan, on MUTV this Saturday at 17:30 BST.