Manchester United 3 RC Lens 1
Manchester United came from behind to record an impressive 3-1 victory over RC Lens, in the penultimate pre-season friendly for Erik ten Hag's men.
Florian Sotoca had put the visitors ahead at Old Trafford with an effort from the edge of the centre circle in the first half, before Marcus Rashford, Antony and Casemiro scored in the second period to turn the game around.
The result meant Andre Onana and Mason Mount enjoyed winning starts as the pair made their first home appearances since joining the Reds, and our latest summer signing Rasmus Højlund will look forward to doing the same soon, after being presented to the crowd before kick-off.
SOTOCA SUCKER PUNCH
A lively tempo from the off saw Onana make a simple save from Florian Sotoca in the opening minutes – a first for our new stopper at the Theatre of Dreams – before a dangerous run cutting in from the left by Alejandro Garnacho was only stopped by a last-ditch sliding block by Lens defender Jonathan Gradit at the other end.
Garnacho running fiercely at defenders was to become a recurring theme and almost led to a sensational start to Mason Mount’s United debut at Old Trafford around the quarter-hour mark. An excellent pass from the near touchline by Bruno Fernandes found Garnacho, who cut the ball back ever so slightly behind Mount in the box and the chance went begging as the Englishman kicked his standing leg.
On 23 minutes and against the run of play, Lens seized a surprise lead. Diogo Dalot misplaced a pass to Raphael Varane near the halfway line and Sotoca pounced, before weighting a ball perfectly into the corner of the net from distance and beyond the reach of the retreating Onana.
Looking to hit back quickly, some mesmerising footwork by Garnacho saw him break away from the Lens defence, lifting the crowd into a roar as he drove into the box, but unfortunately his effort was just off target.
From that point, the Reds dominated the rest of the half, with Anthony and Luke Shaw among those creating chances, but the Brazilian saw his attempt blocked and Shaw’s shot was deflected before being saved. The French side therefore went into the break 1-0 up.
LENS SEEN OFF
Less than three minutes after the restart, Rashford scored in front of the Stretford End to make it 1-1. Antony’s through ball to Rashford was as equally impressive as the Englishman’s clipped finish, making the defence almost disappear. But that does nothing to diminish the skill of Rashford to find the net from the right of the area.
Our no.21 from Brazil became the scorer as he made it 2-1 on 52 minutes. Garnacho slid the ball to Antony who initially took a heavy touch but finished clinically with his second, beating Brice Samba to put the Reds in front.
Shortly after this, Garnacho was making yet another charge down the left when he was stopped in physical fashion, having been clipped by Salis Abdul Samed. Gradit then bounded into him at the expense of a free kick.
Luke Shaw stepped up to swing the ball in from the flank and his set piece was converted for 3-1, with both Rashford and Casemiro initially claiming the goal. MUTV replays showed Shaw had picked out an unmarked Rashford who looked to head into the bottom right corner, but the ball ricocheted off the Brazilian into the left side of the net.
Rashford was looking to put the icing on a successful afternoon when he picked up possession in the centre of the park in the final ten minutes and danced passed Stijn Spierings. Some more silky footwork took him into the area but his strike was blocked by a defender, with the score remaining 3-1 at the full-time whistle.
United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Mount; Antony (Forson 81), Fernandes (c), Garnacho (Sancho 68); Rashford.
Subs not used: Kovar, Lindelof, Maguire, Eriksen, Pellistri, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek, Hannibal.
Goals: Rashford 49, Antony 53, Casemiro 59.
RC Lens: Samba; Gradit (Khusanov 86), Danso, Medina; Frankowski (Sishuba 89), Abdul Samed (Spierings 72), Diouf (El Aynaoui 85), Machado (Haidara 72); Thomasson (Costa 73), Sotoca (Cortes 88), Fulgini (Guilavogui 73).
Subs not used: Leca, Pandor, Le Cardinal.
Goal: Sotoca 23.
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