herald

Monday 14 October 2019

Wizards of Oz are United

Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against Leeds
Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against Leeds

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put Manchester United on course for a comprehensive pre-season win against Leeds in Australia.

Just 37 miles separate Old Trafford and Elland Road, but it was Perth's mammoth Optus Stadium that played host to these sides' first meeting since September 2011.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds showed flashes of quality but were eventually rolled over, with Man United winning 4-0 despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completely rotating his side at half-time.

A fine move involving the impressive Paul Pogba and new boy Aaron Wan-Bissaka led to 17-year-old Greenwood's first senior goal, with Rashford doubling that advantage with a fine strike after a dizzying turn.

Rashford and Daniel James - so nearly a Leeds player in January - hit the post in the first half and United continued in the ascendancy after the break, with Phil Jones heading home before Anthony Martial slotted home a spot-kick in front of 55,274 fans.

The atmosphere and competitiveness was unlike most friendlies, which United follow by heading to Singapore to face Inter Milan - the side attempting to sign striker Romelu Lukaku.

The 26-year-old was again conspicuous by his absence after picking up a new knock on the eve of the game, but the striker was not missed in Perth.

Bielsa, who took his place on his trusty blue bucket after arriving Down Under on Tuesday, saw his side overawed for the most part, with Rashford hitting the woodwork inside two minutes.

Solskjaer's side required just five more minutes to open the scoring as Pogba's defence-splitting pass found Wan-Bissaka, whose first-time cross was prodded home by Greenwood.

Pogba bossed the midfield in the first half and had several attempts to score, while Sergio Romero - in for the ill David De Gea - somehow kept out Patrick Bamford with his feet in a positive period for Leeds.

That spell jolted Man United into life. Greenwood went close before Scott McTominay surged forward and fed Rashford, whose stunning drop of the shoulder left Gaetano Berardi on the deck and was followed up by a cool 28th-minute finish.

James hit the post after Rashford and Pogba linked up well, with Solskjaer's side continuing strongly despite 11 half-time changes.

Andreas Pereira saw a shot from distance tipped over but Jones scored from the corner after losing Kalvin Phillips to head home in the 51st minute.

Angel Gomes had an attempt as the match became a little stop-start, with the Leeds fans in fine voice despite seeing their side fall further behind.

Tahith Chong's turn fooled Liam Cooper and earned a penalty that Martial dispatched in the 69th minute, sending Kiko Casilla the wrong way.

Jesse Lingard directed wide and tempers frayed following an Ashley Young challenge as United's 100 per cent start to pre-season continued.

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