Date:Saturday July 12 2008
Sir Alex returned to the scene of his first great triumphs: 25 years after winning the Cup Winners Cup with Aberdeen, beating Real Madrid in the final, the big man returned to Pittodrie with European Champions Manchester United.
The Reds were without their Euro 2008 players: Kuszczak, Nani, Ronaldo, Evra and Van der Sar were all absent from the squad, as was Saha, Anderson, Tevez and Hargreaves. But it was a relatively strong first eleven that took to the field, with Lee Martin and keeper Ben Amos as the only unusual faces.
Gary Neville finally got around to start a game while Wes Brown deputised for Rio Ferdinand alongside Vidic in the centre of the back four. The atmosphere was quite friendly and welcoming: there is no doubt that the supporters of Aberdeen have not forgotten what Sir Alex had done for their club.
Giggs, also in the starting eleven, playing in a central role alongside Rooney, was applauded every time he went to take a corner; nice touch, proper respect to the now record holder. The game itself was a relatively low-key occasion, as it could be expected: neither teams put on a great show but United's superior midfield told as Scholes and Carrick dominated proceedings.
Rooney was dangerous throughout and it was his burst into the box that brought a foul from Aberdeen keeper Langfield - but not before our own young goalie, Amos, made some really good saves to keep the Dons out. Rooney himself also had opportunities before the penalty to give United the lead but it was Carrick who scored the first goal of the pre-season, calmly slotting home the penalty - as he did in Moscow.
The second half of course saw several changes yet United continued to dominate. Giggs hit the bar with a fine header after Rooney's cross and it was the young, now married striker who sealed the win, heading home from 10 yards out after Fletcher's pinpoint cross from the right.
Jonny Evans, Fraizer Campbell (he was particularly impressive I thought), Danny Simpson, Darron Gibson and Chris Eagles all got a run-out and O'Shea got the armband once Giggs had been taken off. In the end, it was a comfortable victory in a friendly stadium: just what we needed at the start of pre-season.
Rooney's performance stood out, just like it did during last summmer - fingers crossed he'll won suffer another metatarsal injury in the opener.
Date:Saturday July 12 2008
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|4. West Ham||16||8||4||4||+8||28|
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