Tour 2018 match report: United 2 Real Madrid 1
Manchester United signed off Tour 2018, presented by Aon, with a solid victory over Champions League holders Real Madrid, thanks to two superb team goals at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Tuesday.
The impressive Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring early on before setting up Ander Herrera for the Reds' excellent second strike. Karim Benzema replied for Real, but Jose Mourinho's men held firm after the break to ensure a winning end to the US trip.
David De Gea played a full 90 minutes in his first pre-season game, while Fred made his maiden start for the club following his summer transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk. At the back, Mourinho deployed a trio of Tim Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly and Scott McTominay, who played at centre-back for the first time in his senior career.
Up front, Juan Mata and Alexis once again led the line and the pair, who have combined brilliantly through the tour, linked well after just five minutes when Alexis found Mata in the area, but the Spaniard miscued his effort and it dropped wide of the target.
At the other end, Alvaro Odriozola made a good run down the right and picked out Benzema in the box but the Frenchman sent a fizzing shot wide of De Gea’s left-hand post.
After Mata had fired straight at Real Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, the Reds took the lead on 18 minutes with a fine move. Herrera found Matteo Darmian down the right and the Italian's inviting centre was brilliantly swept home by the lively Alexis.
Sandwiched between a couple of Gareth Bale efforts, the second of which whistled just wide of De Gea’s upright, United doubled the advantage with a quick and superb team goal. An inviting ball forward was collected by Mata who found Alexis inside the box. The Chilean's intelligent header back towards to the edge of the area found Herrera and the Spaniard finished with aplomb.
United were continuing to look menacing, but Bale and Benzema were still buzzing around in attack for Real and it was the latter who got the Spaniards back into it in first-half injury-time. Theo Hernandez sent a wicked cross into the near post and Benzema stole in to poke home.
Real made a host of changes at the break with Bale being replaced by renowned teenager Martin Odegaard and Benzema also going off, while Mourinho stuck with the same XI who had performed so well in the first period.
Real began the brighter of the two sides and it was Odegaard who had the first opening of the second period on 57 minutes when he was found in the box, but the 19-year-old couldn’t keep his shot down.
The European champions continued to apply pressure, but Oscar fired over just after the hour-mark and Odegaard had a free-kick punched clear by De Gea. The Reds keeper then did just enough to put Raul de Tomas off as he burst towards the near post in pursuit of Marco Asensio’s cross from the left, eight minutes from time.
That proved to be the last real threat of goal as United bid farewell to the US with a fine win in front of some ecstatic fans in Miami.
United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw; Herrera, Fred (Tuanzebe 68), McTominay (Mitchell 79); Mata (Garner 82), Alexis, A.Pereira.
Subs not used: Grant, J.Pereira, Williams, Hamilton, Gomes, Chong, Bohui, Greenwood.
Scorers: Alexis 18, Herrera 27.
Real Madrid: Casilla (Lunin 46); Odriozola (Sergio Lopez 62), Vallejo (Nacho 77), Sanchez, Hernandez (Reguilón 46); Llorente (Asensio 77), Valverde (Isco 77); Bale (Odegaard 46, Kroos 77), Ceballos (Raul de Thomas 62), Vinicius Junior (Oscar Rodriguez 62); Benzema (Mayoral 46).
Subs not used: Navas, Carvajal, Vazquez, Bernal, Zidane, Franchu, Seoane, De la Fuente.
Scorer: Benzema 45+3.