Tour 2018 match report: United 1 Club America 1
Manchester United kicked off Tour 2018, presented by Aon, with a 1-1 draw against Club America as Lee Grant made an impressive debut for the Reds in Phoenix.
The Mexican side took the lead on the hour mark thanks to a bullet header from Henry Martin, but Juan Mata ensured a share of the spoils for Jose Mourinho’s men in the first match of pre-season.
It was a lively start from both sides and Anthony Martial was unlucky not to receive a penalty on nine minutes after he appeared to be tripped in the area, but American official Kevin Stott was unmoved.
This is how the Reds lined up against Club America in our first game of pre-season... image
The Frenchman was involved again four minutes later when some neat interplay on the edge of the box resulted with Ander Herrera laying the ball off to the United frontman and his lovely curling effort grazed the top of the crossbar and flew over.
Minutes later, the woodwork saved Club America again as Mata made space inside the box and got a shot away amid a crowd of players, only to see his effort come back off the upright.
Mata: The future is bright for our youngsters
Juan Mata is full of praise for Tahith Chong and his fellow Academy graduates who impressed against Club America...
Martial saw another shot tipped around the post, before the action switched to the other end, where Grant was called upon for the first time as he saved well from Club America right-back Paul Aguilar.
The Mexican side were growing in confidence and Grant made another top stop from Roger Martinez before quickly getting back to his feet to claim the loose ball before the Club America attackers could pounce.
All square in Arizona gallery
The best images from our first match of Tour 2018, presented by Aon.
Mourinho decided to bring Joel Pereira on for the second half in United’s goal following an impressive 45 minutes for Grant and the young stopper could do nothing to keep out Martin’s powerful header after a fine left-wing cross from substitute Antonio Lopez on 60 minutes.
Luke Shaw, who is yet to score a senior goal, went close to restoring parity soon after when he took aim from inside the area, but his right-foot shot sailed inches wide.
A flurry of changes followed for both sides including the introduction of 16-year-old Mason Greenwood, who joined Tahith Chong and Grant in making their first-team bows. And it was Chong’s inviting cross which led to United’s equaliser on 78 minutes.
Herrera was at the back post to meet Chong’s centre but the Spaniard saw his header fly back off the post. The ball eventually rebounded back out to Mata, whose volleyed effort crept through the legs of substitute goalkeeper Oscar Jiminez.
The lively Greenwood took aim three minutes from outside the box but Jiminez parried clear.
That proved to be the last of the action in what was a solid workout for the Reds, who travel to Santa Clara on Sunday for the next Tour 2018 match against San Jose Earthquakes.