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United's Wilfried Zaha. United's Wilfried Zaha.
21 July 2013 Posted by 

Red Devils feast on All Stars

By Roger Sleeman

MANCHESTER United cruised to a routine 5-1 win over the A- League All Stars in front of  a record crowd of 83,127 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, July 20.

It was expected the Red Devils would be seething at the bit to compensate for their shock 1-0 loss to the Thai All Stars the previous week and it was unfortunate the A- League selection would be the sacrificial lambs.

It was reminiscent of United’s first tour in 1967 when they conquered all in their wake, parading world class players George Best, Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law amongst an array of international players.

The subtle difference between the Australian players of yesteryear and the current performers is full time professionalism.

Consequently, coach, Ange Postecoglou’s, claim that his team ‘s lack of preparation contributed to the poor performance is questionable because United is only in their third week of pre-season and this was only their second competitive match since the end of the EPL in mid-May.

Sure, United is one of the leading clubs in Europe and they would’ve pleased their fans but the All Star performance was below par.

The tone of the match was set early when Wilfried Zaha displayed a great step over, playing the ball infield to Danny Welbeck who launched an attack on goal before being thwarted by a defender. In the sixth minute, Welbeck was played into the penalty area and despatched a fierce drive which Ante Covic blocked with his body at the near post.

United exerted more pressure in the penalty area when it seemed the All Stars defence was incapable of effective marking as several headers went just wide of the mark.

United opened the score In the 10th minute when Tom Cleverley pushed a ball to the right for Giggs who played a simple pass to Welbeck who let the ball run through his legs  for  Jesse Lingard to comfortably score on Covic’s left post.

In the 11th minute, the All Stars found space on the right, only for Thomas Broich to blast over the bar from just outside the penalty area.

United continued their aerial threat as Patrice Evra had a free header in the 16th minute which barely sailed over the bar.

In the 27th minute, Broich made inroads wide on the right before releasing the ball to Besart Berisha who swivelled on the ball before pushing his shot just past the keeper’s far post.

Pedj Bojic was making some progress on the right flank and in the 27th minute he played a perfect waist high ball to Berisha who completely failed to contact the ball with an attempted volley.

Lingard’s pace and mobility were proving a great challenge for the All Star defence and in the 33rd minute, he linked with Ryan Giggs who played a short wall pass behind the defence for Welbeck to tap in easily to create a 2-0 scoreline.

Before half time, chances were presented at both ends for Welbeck and Berisha but they both failed to capitalise and the score was unchanged at the break.

Berisha represented one of the few threats to United and in the 51st minute he turned on his right side to fire in a low shot just inside the keeper’s right post to  make the score 2-1 and provide some hope for the All Stars.

However, this was to prove a false dawn as United promptly replied in the 53rd minute. Lingard had possession on the edge of the box and Evra made a dummy run to his left ,allowing the striker to cut back on his right foot before unleashing a  perfect shot high to the left of a helpless Michael Theo which made the score 3-1.

The moment the crowd had waited patiently for what transpired in the 61st minute when goal scoring machine , Robin Van Persie, finally entered the playing arena.

He was not to disappoint his army of admirers as he provided the corner for Welbeck to score with a header just inside the six yard box in the 69 th minute and in the 86 th minute, after constant pressure on the All Stars defence, he scored United’s 5th goal with a low right foot shoot past Theo’s right post.

Apart from Berisha and Broich, the All Stars just couldn’t compete with United’s mobility, speed, technique, movement and ability to be first to the ball. 

It was certainly a great spectacle for the huge crowd but we have too many players who lack basic techniques like using both feet, and both sides of their bodies to shield the ball so the time has come for the coaching fraternity to address all these issues, or our game will never approach the standards to compete with the best.



Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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