Man United Thrash Airtricity XI

Manchester United's Michael Owen celebrates after scoring against the Airtricity League X1 during a friendly soccer match at the new Aviva stadium in Dublin, August 4, 2010. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (IRELAND - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
This evening Manchester United took on an Airtricity League XI in the first football game to be played in the AVIVA stadium.

Even though Michael Owen wasn’t expected to be fit until the start of the season, he started alongside Wayne Rooney.

Tomasz Kuszczak started in goal with Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and John O’Shea (captain) making up the back four. In midfield were Antonio Valencia, Darron Gibson, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park. Owen and Rooney were upfront.

Park opened up the scoring after some terrible defending; Gavin Peers picked the ball up in his own penalty area. When he finally made his mind up to clear the ball, Park had closed him down; the clearance hit Park and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Rooney only played the first half, his best opportunity to score came after Gibson’s shot was saved; Rooney lashed the rebound over the bar. He got a lot of stick after the World Cup but Rooney already looked a bit more like the player we saw last season.

United’s second was scored by Owen whose lob over the keeper was a quality goal from the striker. Airtricity’s most memorable moment of the first half was a somersault thrown in, which just goes to show how comfortable it was for United,

Carrick limped off injured during the first half, it’s not believed to be too serious, Darren Fletcher came on in his place.

Sir Alex Ferguson made two immediate changes for the second half. Rooney and Owen came off with Dimitar Berbatov and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez replacing them.

Less than two minutes after coming on Chicharito bagged himself another goal. Valencia’s low ball in was put past the keeper by Chicharito, with his first touch.

Valencia impressed throughout the game, he deservedly scored United’s fourth with a brilliant finish.

That was soon followed by a fifth, Parks second. Some great play between Evans and Fletcher ended with a cracking goal for the South Korean. Then came two more substitutions with Luis Nani coming on for Park and Ben Amos for Kuszczak.

It was 6-0 with just over 20 minutes remaining with a header from Evans.

Airtricity scored a consolation goal through Dave Mulcahy after United’s back four switched off. It would have been nice for United to keep a clean sheet but it was a great finish by Mulcahy.

The final goal of the game came after Chicharito was brought down in the penalty area, Nani stepped up and calmly scored the penalty.

There could have been two more goals, Nani’s powerful strike hit the crossbar and Amos had to make a brilliant point blank save. It finished Airtricity 1-7 Man United, a comfortable game against a fairly poor opposition but it was a good run out for the team ahead of the game against Chelsea this weekend.

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