Melbourne Victory 1 Manchester United 4
Manchester United overcame an early setback to beat Melbourne Victory 4-1 as Erik ten Hag’s winning start to pre-season continued in Australia.
Three days on from the promising 4-0 win against rivals Liverpool in humid Bangkok, United travelled 4,500 miles to play the second match of their tour at the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Local side Victory were the opponents in front of a 74,157 crowd and threatened an upset when the A-League outfit took an early lead through Chris Ikonomidis’ fine finish.
Their fans chanted in jest “you’re getting sacked in the morning” at Ten Hag, but his side went into half-time ahead thanks to a deflected Scott McTominay strike and a close-range Anthony Martial goal.
The Dutchman changed all 10 outfield players at half-time, just as he did against Liverpool, and it took the sting out of a friendly that only flickered into life on a few further occasions.
Marcus Rashford’s smart finish from an Eric Bailly through ball provided the standout moment of the second period that ended with an own goal from Tahith Chong’s cross and Victory new boy Nani’s introduction.
The warm reception for the former United man was the only moment that brought everyone together at the MCG, where the A-League side’s hearty contingent made themselves heard throughout.
Some early anti-United chants were stopped for wild celebrations with just five minutes on the clock.
Ben Folami was sent scampering behind Victor Lindelof down the right and crossed for Ikonomidis, who had darted beyond Harry Maguire and hit a great first-time finish past Tom Heaton.
It was bad start from a United side that struggled to get going in Melbourne.
McTominay saw two attempts thwarted and a firm one-handed save by Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo stopped Bruno Fernandes scoring from a Jadon Sancho pass.
The lively winger was denied himself soon after, with Maguire and Martial having headers before McTominay cut out a clearance and saw a hopeful 43rd minute effort hit a Victory player and loop in.
United grabbed another within two minutes as marauding right-back Diogo Dalot’s drive cross was touched on by Anthony Elanga and Martial slotted home.
An entirely new set of outfield players emerged for the second period, with 19-year-old Zidane Iqbal again showing some lovely moments of quality off the bench.
A tepid second period was lit up in the 78th minute when Bailly played through Rashford to score a clinical low finish.
The England forward had another chance after Nishan Velupillay struck wide at the other end and Nani came on for a late cameo, before Chong’s cross was turned into his own net by Edmond Lupancu at the death.
Melbourne Victory 1 Manchester United 4: As it happened
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Don’t forget you can recap all of the action, as it happened, below.
Some United flags were spotted at the MCG
Here’s Eric ten Hag on his side’s performance
A really compact opponent, sat so far back, waiting for us. I think the team reacted really good. We created a lot on the right side
Nani wishes his former club all the best
I just want to wish all the success for the new coach. I hope the club can get back to the position where they belong and start winning all the trophies we are missing so much.
More from James Ducker, at the MCG
So a 4-1 win for United and more for Erik ten Hag to chew over. The goal conceded after the fourth minute will concern him most. United were cut open with alarming ease, with no pressure on the ball, and the poor positioning and lack of anticipation by first Victor Lindelof and then Harry Maguire was a worry. United have struggled in recent seasons against a low block and looked short of ideas at times going forward against Melbourne, who got men behind the ball. On a positive note, there was a goal and smart finish from Marcus Rashford. Jadon Sancho looked lively in the first half, Anthony Martial got another goal and Zidane Iqbal, the first British-Asian player to represent United, again gave a good account of himself. However, Donny van de Beek was peripheral again and struggled to get into the game.
Scott McTominay reacts pitch-side
Whenever you’ve got a new manager there are a lot of new ideas. We need to dial into them and tonight was a good test. We kept patience, we didn’t panic.
Full-time: Manchester United 4-1 Melbourne Victory
It’s all over at the MCG. Despite going a goal down inside the opening five minutes, Manchester United seal their second victory of pre-season thanks to goals from McTominay, Martial, Rashford and an own goal.
90+2 mins: Manchester United 4-1 Melbourne Victory
We’re into added time and United aren’t taking their foot off the gas. They continue to come forward.
89 mins: Manchester United 4-1 Melbourne Victory- GOAL
Chong gets to the byline and delivers a dangerous ball into the box. It deflects into the net off a Melbourne player four United’s fourth.
86 mins: Manchester United 3-1 Melbourne Victory
HERE HE IS! As time looked to be running out, Nani is introduced for Melbourne against his former club. What a reception he’s received from both sets of fans. He replaces goal-scorer Ikonomidis.
83 mins: Manchester United 3-1 Melbourne Victory
Malacia picks out Rashford with a perfect ball. He gets his header down but it’s straight into the gloves of Izzo.
80 mins: Manchester United 3-1 Melbourne Victory
Melbourne break and come close to reducing the deficit. Brooks found fellow substitute Velupillay who lashed his effort wide of the near post.
78 mins: Manchester United 3-1 Melbourne Victory- GOAL RASHFORD
Manchester United extend their lead. Bailly plays a perfectly weighted ball through to Rashford who latches on and places the ball into the bottom corner.
74 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Free-kick for Melbourne. Brimmer’s set-piece is comfortably claimed by Heaton.
70 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
A let off for Bailly after his pass nearly goes into the path of the Melbourne attack. Heaton was switched on and claimed the ball.
68 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
A change on the left side for Melbourne as Velupillay comes on for Folami. Brooks also replaces Broxham.
65 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Manchester United break quickly on the counter attack, Chong is dispossessed in a dangerous position.
James Ducker, at the MCG
It was a strong finish to the first half for United after an awful start. The defending was what we had come to expect last season, with no pressure on the ball and players caught out of position. Jay Barnett should never have been in a position to play a pass in behind Victor Lindelof after Luke Shaw and Anthony Elanga failed to deal with a one-two. But Lindelof and Maguire’s positioning from there was woeful. Lindelof allowed Barnett’s pass to whizz past his left side from where Ben Folami crossed. This is Maguire’s first appearance of the season after he missed the Liverpool game in Bangkok on Tuesday with a niggle but he was alarmingly slow to react the danger and watched Chris Ikonomidis breeze ahead of him to slot home Folami’s cross. United bounced back late in the half with goals from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial but the ease with which Melbourne scored will have concerned Erik ten Hag.
61 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Man United are still heavily dominating the ball. They’re struggling to break down a stubborn Melbourne defence.
57 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Iqbal delivers a dangerous cross into the box but Rashford can’t quite latch onto it.
55 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Iqbal dances on the edge of the box but can’t find a way through.
52 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Man United second-half XI: Heaton, Van de Beek, Laird, Chong, Savage, Iqbal, Rashford, Malacia, Diallo, Telles, Bailly.
No changes for Melbourne Victory. Ten changes.
50 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Savage plays a long ball forward which finds the head of Rashford. The flag is up.
49 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
As they did in the first-half, Man United enjoying most of the possession so far.
Second-half: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory get us back underway at the MCG. Ten changes for United, we’ll bring you those shortly.
Half-Time: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory
The half-time whistle blows almost immediately after Martial’s strike. It is almost unarguably a deserved lead for United, who have enjoyed almost all the ball and had created several good opportunities before McTominay and Martial each found a way through.
45+1 mins: Manchester United 2-1 Melbourne Victory – GOAL MARTIAL
Ten Hag’s side have turned the game on its head in a matter of minutes. Dalot’s cross is flicked on by Elanga to Martial and from six yards out, the Frenchman belts it home.
43 mins: Manchester United 1-1 Melbourne Victory – GOAL MCTOMINAY
Third time’s the charm for Scott McTominay. After seeing two efforts deflected behind so far, he tries another shot from the edge of the area which again takes a deflection but his time loops over Izzo and nestles into the far corner. United are level.
42 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
It has been a frustrating first half for United and ten Hag has been the victim of the derisory chant ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ from the Australian crowd. Probably a little harsh…
40 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Fernandes’ free-kick from the left is cleared away and Fred lashes it over the bar with an ambitious effort.
37 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Sancho sees a shot blocked behind and Maguire heads the resulting corner onto the roof of the net.
36 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Martial is causing the Melbourne defenders problems, dropping in the midfield positions to collect the ball and running at the defence.
34 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Fred tries a shot on his weaker foot from distance, but it flies well over and the Brazilian is reprimanded by several of his teammates.
33 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
United continue to dominate the ball, having 75% of it so far in this game but they are still unable to find a way through.
30 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
A delightful through ball from Sancho finds Dalot but he can’t pick out a teammate with his cutback.
28 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Martial uses his strength to hold off the Melbourne defender and has a shot blocked. The Frenchman appeals for handball but to not avail.
26 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Fernandes is slid through by Jadon Sancho and draws a good save out of Melbourne goalkeeper Paul Izzo.
22 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
McTominay sees another shot blocked by the Melbourne defender. Bruno Fernandes’ vision and precise passing over the top is catching the Aussies out again and again.
20 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Melbourne are happy to camp out in their box and wait for United to send a ball in, but once they win it back, they are quick to break away and are drawing a lot of cynical fouls out of their opponents.
18 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
The best chance of the match for United so far. Fernandes is played down the right, he pulls it back for McTominay and his shot is blocked behind for a corner.
16 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Man United are playing at a low tempo and ten Hag can be heard demanding from the touchline that they get the ball further up the pitch.
14 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Erik ten Hag looks on from the touchline. This is not the start to the match he will have wanted from his side.
12 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
It’s end to end stuff with both sides creating opportunities. United don’t look the most composed at the back.
10 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
A nervy Man United are struggling here. A poor Tom Heaton clearance is intercepted and Melbourne create another opportunity which United are able to deal with.
7 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Man United immediately set about finding a quick response but Melbourne are able to clear their lines.
5 mins: Manchester United 0-1 Melbourne Victory – GOAL IKONOMIDIS
United are caught out on the counter attack and Ikonomidis is able to sweep home after being picked out by a cross from the right. A shock lead for Melbourne.
4 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Melbourne Victory
It was almost a sublime ball over the top from Bruno Fernandes but Diogo Dalot was jut unable to keep it in play.
2 mins: Manchester United 0-0 Melbourne Victory
This match begins with considerably less intensity than when United faced Liverpool on Tuesday. Ten Hag’s men are happy to pass the ball around the back and dictate the tempo for now.
Kick-Off: Manchester United 0-0 Melbourne Victory
Anthony Martial gets the game underway.
The teams come out
After an incredible lightshow, the United and Melbourne players walk out onto the pitch under the lights of the MCG.
Nani starts on the bench for Melbourne
The Portuguese was hugely popular during his eight years with Man United between 2007 and 2015, making 230 appearances and scoring 40 goals. He will undoubtedly get a warm reception from the United fans if he makes it on the pitch today.
Marcus Rashford on training under ten Hag so far
The first two and a half weeks of training has been good. We have improved a lot. The team is a lot fitter than last season.
Melbourne Victory’s Starting Eleven is in
Melbourne Victory Starting XI: Izzo, Marchan, Broxham, Ikonomidis, Brillante, Folami, Barnett, Timotheou, Nigro, Miranda, Brimmer
Substitutes: Acton, Taleb, Juric, Kirdar, Nani, Prso, Velupillay, Brooks, Wilson, Adams, Lupancu, Menelauo
How Manchester United will line-up
Man Utd Starting XI: Heaton, Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Fernandes, Elanga, Martial, Sancho.
Substitutes: Bishop, Kovar, Bailly, Rashford, Malacia, Amad, Telles, Pellistri, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek, Laird, Chong, Hannibal, Fish, Garnacho, Savage, Iqbal.
In Manchester United’s second game of pre-season, they face Melbourne Victory. They come in off the back of a commanding 4-0 victory over deadly rivals Liverpool on Tuesday, in Erik ten Hag’s first match in charge. It’s a period of transition for the club with the Dutchman now at the helm and their supporters will have been encouraged to see a very different United performance in Thailand than they were used to seeing last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. Today’s match against Melbourne Victory will understandably be less of an indication as to what fans can expect for next season.
Regardless, the Australian outfit, under the management of former Crystal Palace defender Tony Popovic, are one of the most successful clubs in the country and boast home advantage, with the match taking place at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground. There could also be a recognisable face in their line-up today in the shape of former Man United winger Nani who, at the ripe old age of 35, joined the club just days ago after his contract with Venezia expired.
United fans are looking forward to seeing more of their own players in action for the first time since May. Skipper Harry Maguire was absent against Liverpool but starts against Melbourne today in place of the injured Raphael Varane, while Anthony Elanga also comes into the starting XI, replacing Marcus Rashford. Tom Heaton also starts in goal, with David de Gea absent from the bench. Luke Shaw is once again preferred to new signing to Tyrell Malacia, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek and Eric Bailly also notable names amongst the substitutes.