Dimitar Berbatov playing against Hangzhou Greentown in 2009

United in China: The story so far

The next instalment of Manchester United’s Tour 2019 takes us to the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai.

Thursday’s International Champions Cup fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, which will be shown live on MUTV, will be the 15th match we’ve played in China, if we include visits to the autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Our overall record in the world's most populous country is positive, with 12 wins, one draw and just one defeat – a 4-1 reverse to Borussia Dortmund at Shanghai Stadium in 2016 - from our previous 14 matches. In those games, which have also taken us to Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, United have scored 42 goals, conceding 13.

The first Manchester derby outside England was due to be played in Beijing on our previous trip to China three years ago but had to be cancelled due to heavy rain in the city.

Here we take a look at five memorable pre-season matches that thrilled our Chinese supporters...

United 3-0 Beijing Hyundai, Workers Stadium, Beijing, 26 July 2005

The second game on our 2005 tour, after a 2-0 win against Hong Kong XI, was a bad-tempered affair at the 66,000-capacity Workers Stadium in the capital. Two goals from Paul Scholes and a Park Ji-Sung effort ensured a strong Reds side ran out comfortable winners, but some robust challenges from the home side led to Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy becoming involved in off-the-ball incidents, while Alan Smith was fortunate to escape further punishment for an overzealous tackle on Tao Wei.

Alan Smith is challenged by a Beijing Hyundai player during a feisty 3-0 win in 2005.
Alan Smith is challenged by a Beijing Hyundai player during a feisty 3-0 win in 2005.

United 3-0 Guangzhou Pharmaceutical, Olympic Stadium, Guangzhou, 27 July 2007

This fixture, against the local side who would go on to become two-time Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande, came after a 6-0 win over Shenzen FC in Macau; it was a late replacement for the Malaysia leg of our 2007 tour, which was cancelled due to a clash with the Asian Cup finals. Dong Fangzhuo, to date the Reds’ only Chinese player, started the game at the 80,000-capacity stadium, but it was Wayne Rooney who gave us the lead with a 19th-minute penalty. Nani made it two before the break and 20-year-old Lee Martin rounded off the scoring with his first senior goal in the opening stages of the second half.

United 8-2 Hangzhou Greentown, Yellow Dragon Stadium, Hangzhou, 26 July 2009

The Reds' most emphatic victory on Chinese soil came during our only match in Hangzhou, on the east coast of the country. After three wins out of three in Malaysia and Seoul, we took Greentown apart with two goals from Michael Owen helping us race into a 4-0 half-time lead. Dimitar Berbatov and Nani were also at their scintillating best, netting a goal apiece before substitute Ryan Giggs took advantage of tiring legs to hit a late hat-trick – the only treble the Welsh winger ever managed in a Reds shirt.

Michael Owen scores against Hangzhou Greentown
Paul Scholes and Patrice Evra congratulate Michael Owen after the striker scores against Hangzhou Greentown.

United 1-0 Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai, 25 July 2012

Our second trip to China’s most populous city – after a 2-0 win against the same opposition on the 1999 tour – saw us lift the Chevrolet China Cup with a narrow win. The hosts were shorn of top talents Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, who had just signed for the club after scoring the winning penalty for Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League Final. New United names Nick Powell and Shinji Kagawa both featured in our starting line-up and it was the Japanese international who scored the game’s only goal, his half-volley diverting off a defender and beyond Shengjiong Qiu.

Michael Carrick leads United out against Shanghai Shenhua
Michael Carrick leads United out against Shanghai Shenhua in 2012.

United 5-2 Kitchee SC, National Stadium, Hong Kong, 29 July 2013

This was the seventh time the Reds have played in Hong Kong after previous visits in 1975, 1984, 1986, 1997, 1999 and 2005. The local Premier League runners-up Kitchee Sports Club lay in wait in what was the final game of our five-match tour which had also taken in Bangkok, Sydney, Yokohama and Osaka. After an inconsistent summer, United put in a convincing performance, racing into a three-goal lead before the half-hour mark, with goals from Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Fabio da Silva. David Moyes opted to rotate much of his line-up in the second half and it was two replacements, Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard, who rounded off the scoring.

As with all the pre-season games, United v Tottenham in Shanghai on Thursday (12:30 BST) will be shown live on MUTV.

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