Date:Saturday July 26 2008
Manchester United have won the Vodacom Challenge Cup. Fantastic, isn't it? Yeah, I vaguely recall us winning some big, silver thing in May but it's much sweeter, ain't it?
All right, all right, I might sound cynical though after Fergie admitting we went to South Africa only for the money I don't think it's a surprise that I take this success with a pinch of salt.
But onto the more important matters. United, preparing for tomorrow's friendly against Portsmouth as well, had a very unusual line-up, with Scholes, Tevez, Silvestre and Neville all starting on the bench, Possebon, Cathcart, Cleverley handed starts.
It was Kaizer Chiefs who were quicker out of the blocks and though clear-cut chances were few and far between they were the more active team - until United took the lead with five minutes from time, Ryan Giggs continuing his fine pre-season form.
Two out of three pre-season games so far yielded only one United goal but the European champions looked much more like their usual self after the break and began to dominate. Possebon started to find his feet and show his promise, Eagles came on to inject some urgency into our wide play and it paid off quickly.
Rooney doubled the advantage soon with a nice, composed finish then turned provider as he headed down the ball into the path of Cleverley who coolly slotted it home and wheeled away to celebrate in evident delight.
Fergie rang the changes and subsituted his strikeforce as well as Michael Carrick who once again did a huge, understated job. Tevez, Campbell and Scholes all came in and United continued to threaten the Chiefs every time they went forward. Tevez's skilfulness was causing huge problems just as Campbell's pace and it was no real surprise that the two combined to score the fourth: Tevez brought a pinpoint ball down a bit clumsily, into the path of Campbell who steered it home at once.
It was game over and though United could have added to their tally, we could not complain: it was the first really satisfying victory of pre-season. The team is still rusty and missing some key players but it's getting better and better.
Portsmouth coming up next tomorrow and we'll soon be sick of seeing them as the Community Shield game and the clash at Fratton Park will also come soon enough. Then, finally, United will head home to England, with the games against Espanyol, Peterborough and Juventus coming up.
Date:Saturday July 26 2008
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