Report: Real Betis 1 Manchester United 0

Saturday 10 December 2022 19:00

Manchester United slipped to a narrow friendly defeat against Real Betis as the Reds' winter training week ended at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville.

Erik ten Hag again used the occasion to give game-time to more than 20 members of his travelling squad, but made only two changes to his starting XI as David De Gea played the first half in goal and Academy midfielder Isak Hansen-Aaroen replaced Donny van de Beek, who was initially selected, in the no.10 role.

The sides were only separated by one strike, registered by Nabil Fekir - a World Cup winner with France in 2018 - in the fourth minute of the second period as the various half-time substitutes settled into the contest.
Reds left-back Brandon Williams drives forward in the first half.

Brandon Williams was involved in the thick of the early action, clearing a shot from Rodri when Real Betis nicked the ball off Scott McTominay and threatened to emulate Cadiz with a goal inside the first eight minutes. The United left-back also hauled down the rapid Luiz Felipe and that challenge might have earned him a yellow card in a competitive game. Thankfully, the resulting free-kick was blocked by Hansen-Aaroen.

Teden Mengi's second start of the trip was sadly cut short just part the quarter-hour mark when he suffered an injury. After being examined on the pitch by physio Richard Merron and the outgoing club doctor Steve McNally, the unfortunate Mengi was stretchered off and replaced at centre-back by FA Youth Cup-winning captain Rhys Bennett.

Betis were inches away from an opener at the midway point in the first half, as Paul Akouokou's shot through a forest of bodies clipped the left-hand post, after promising work by Luiz Henrique on the right flank. The two sides then traded attempts with Betis's first effort on target from Borja Iglesias proving too tame to trouble David De Gea before Anthony Elanga's low drive at the other end of the stadium fizzed the wrong side of the frame. The Swede's namesake and fellow attacker, Anthony Martial, also sent the ball flying wide as the Reds ended the first 45 minutes on top but without a shot on target to show for it.

Having changed all of his 10 outfield players at the break in Wednesday's friendly defeat to Cadiz, Ten Hag made fewer alterations this time, bringing on Tom Heaton, Sam Murray, Kobbie Mainoo and Shola Shoretire for De Gea, Williams, Hansen-Aaroen and Martial.

And Heaton had to be on his toes 15 seconds after the restart, as the substitute goalkeeper spread himself to block Henrique's effort at the near post as Betis attacked straight from the kick-off. It was a warning sign for United and regrettably it wasn't heeded sufficiently before Fekir received Iglesias's clever pass into the penalty area and fired home in the 49th minute.

Heaton denied two attempts by Betis to double their lead as the hosts remained in the ascendancy, beating an opponent to a dangerous cross at the far post and then blocking with his legs as Willian Jose closed in menacingly on the left-hand side. 

An even better save would follow, the vastly experienced keeper showing quick reactions to parry Antonio Marchena's close-range header from a corner taken by his fellow substitute Juan Miranda.

Both coaches, Ten Hag and former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, took advantage of the game's friendly to make further substitutions and send on a plethora of young players eager to impress. The young Reds in question included forwards Noam Emeran and Joe Hugill but clearcut chances still proved elusive as Betis saw out their 1-0 win. Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay were the only United starters who played the full 90 minutes of what was effectively another training exercise.
Highlights: Real Betis v United Video

Highlights: Real Betis v United

View the best of the action from United's final mid-season friendly in Spain...


Betis: Rui Silva; Montoya (Delgado, 75), Luiz Felipe (Edgar, 45), Ruiz (Felix, 75), Moreno (Miranda, 60); Akouokou (Marchena, 66), Canales (Perez, 45); Luiz Henrique (Juanmi, 60), Fekir (Enrique Fernandez, 60), Rodri; Iglesias (Willian Jose, 60).

Substitutes not used: Bravo, Martin, Kike.

United: De Gea (Heaton, 45); Wan-Bissaka (Jurado, 81), Mengi (Bennett, 19), Lindelof, Williams (Murray, 45); McTominay, Iqbal (Savage, 81); Elanga (Hugill, 63), Hansen-Aaroen (Mainoo, 45), Garnacho (Emeran, 63); Martial (Shoretire, 45).

Substitutes not used: Bishop, Dubravka, Bernard, Hardley, McNeill.

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